Inspiring ‘a extra sustainable world’ by tourism in Edmonton
Edmonton is the first city in western Canada to join the Global Destination Sustainability Index (GDS Index), alongside Montreal and Toronto, to be benchmarked for responsible and regenerative tourism.
The GDS Index rankings allow the city to see how Edmonton is performing as a sustainable tourist destination compared to other cities across the globe, Melissa Radu, director of social and environmental sustainability at Explore Edmonton, explained.
The data compiled from the rankings will allow Explore Edmonton to see where the city is performing well when it comes to social and environmental sustainability and where it can do better.
“It’s about getting more people involved across the city,” Radu said. “Getting people to rally together to work on some of these larger sustainability initiatives and to educate people on maybe where they can look to improve.”
According to Radu, pre-COVID-19 the city put out a survey that showed 74 percent of Edmontonians were concerned with lowering the carbon footprint and wanted the city to take action.
“The GDS Index allows us to take a holistic approach to sustainability at the destination level and assess what new partnerships, sharing opportunities, and strategies can help us to further advance this important work and attract more major business, sporting, and entertainment events to Edmonton,” Radu added.
Radu believes efforts like solar panels on the Edmonton Convention Center and carbon offsets for major events will help get the city noticed as a leading tourist destination.
“In so many ways, the tourism industry can be a powerful mechanism for change to help inspire a more sustainable world,” she said.
Results from the GDS Index will be released later this year and shared with the public.