The GDS-Movement unites and enables destination management professionals to create flourishing and resilient places to visit, meet and live in. Their mission is to cocreate sustainable and circular strategies, mindsets and skillsets that will enable future destinations to thrive and society and nature to regenerate.

They work with pioneering municipalities, national/regional destination management organisations, and convention bureaus to cocreate their tourism and events strategies, benchmark and improve their sustainability performance, and transform their value chains to catalyse regeneration.

The GDS-Movements work is aligned with the UN 2030 Agenda. They are working to mainstream the integration of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into the management and strategies of destinations globally. They are, of course, a partner of the UN One Planet Sustainable Tourism Programme and their working group for “Circularity in tourism.”

The GDS-Index uses 71 indicators that evaluate destinations sustainability performance across four key areas. City Environmental Performances, City Social Performance, Supplier Performance and Destination Management Performance.

The Sustainability Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai will be a centrepiece of the event. The building is called “Terra”, meaning planet Earth, and generates fresh water from the surrounding humid air. In addition, its 130 metres-wide roof canopy and surrounding “Energy Tree” structures are fitted with more than 1000 solar panels, which will provide some of the energy needed to host this massive event.

“We’re trying to showcase that humanity can build buildings that do live in harmony with the environment around them, that do manage to grab the resources around them whether that’s sun or water,” explains John Bull, director of the Sustainability Pavilion said in a CNN interview.

“Even in this environment, which is somewhat dry, we’re still able to get enough water which allows this building to be self-sufficient. This pavilion was the first of the Expo structures to be completed. Residents and visitors are offered a wide range of interactive experiences to help people understand their impact on the environment.

“Through those immersive and interactive experiences, that’s how we can really connect to people. That’s how you start conversations that matter, rather than just giving information,” says John Bull.

Expo 2020 Dubai is running from 1 October 2021 to 31 March 2022. Once the event is over, the Sustainability Pavilion will form part of a science centre in District 2020, a new residential and business development that will evolve from the Expo site.

How far are we from the UN goals of 2030? It’s only nine years from now. The Business Event Industry is a meta-industry that has an impact on all other industries. Just look at Expo 2020.

We will be in Dubai for a week at the end of November and only work at the Expo, and one fundamental issue on our agenda is the sustainability and the sustainability pavilion. Let’s see how far we have come, and let’s meet in Dubai.