From 3rd to the 7th October, destination professionals can enjoy an extraordinary event week as City Destinations Alliance (CityDNA), the Global Destination Sustainability Movement (GDS-Movement), and Visit València partner to bring you two back-to-back events, and to jointly announce and celebrate the new home of the prestigious annual GDS-Awards.

The CityDNA Autumn Conference provides destination professionals with a unique occasion to meet and network with colleagues from Europe and beyond while sharing knowledge and insights on the latest trends and challenges.

The GDS Forum will convene destination leaders and sustainability champions from around the world. This dynamic and unconventional gathering is to discuss sustainability and impact strategies and best practices, learn from GDS-Index journeys, and co-create new approaches and initiatives for greater regenerative destination management. It will follow a novel, non-conference format with a focus on peer-to-peer learning, collaboration, and creativity.

The GDS-Awards Ceremony will bring both communities together in an entertaining and inspiring evening-time celebration to recognise the winners of the 8th GDS-Awards.  The larger platform enables greater reach and recognition for and aspiration around destinations whose sustainability contributions have now exceeded pre-pandemic levels in a global industry with a growing responsibility to “be the change we need to see in the world.”

Valencia, the city of arts and sciences, is a superb host for the inaugural GDS Forum event. It is deeply dedicated to sustainable tourism, has best reporting practices, is the first participating city to calculate and certify its tourism carbon footprint, and is a long-term member of the GDS-Index committed to continuous improvement. It’s also the proud recipient of the 2024 European Green Capital Award

“I am delighted to extend our strategic partnership with CityDNA,” says Guy Bigwood, Chief Changemaker and CEO of the GDS-Movement. “They are one of our founding partners, and it’s a natural and powerful next step to bring our events together with the goal of accelerating city regeneration and innovation. By uniting our efforts, we are also reducing the environmental impacts of these events and maximising the ROI to attendees, Valencia, and sponsors.” 

“We are very excited to bring our joint events to Valencia,” says Petra Stušek, President of City Destinations Alliance. “This new partnership beautifully expresses our shared values of accountability and innovation, and Valencia’s status as the 2024 European Green Capital Award winner positions it perfectly as the host city. This is a chance to bring fresh energy, formats, and ideas to our industry and come up with new solutions together.”