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GDS Forum & CityDNA Autumn Conference 2023, Valencia

October 3, 2023 - October 7, 2023


From 3 to 7 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 incredible, 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 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 is a dynamic and unconventional gathering 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-Index 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 practices in reporting, is the very first participating city to calculate and certify its tourism carbon footprint, and is a long-term member of GDS-Index committed to continuous improvement. It’s also the proud recipient of the 2024 European Green Capital Award.

Every day, we hear about the doom and gloom of global polycrisis. But is there a case to make for more of the right kind of optimism? Can more efficient progress be made if we believe in the possibility of positive change? And how do build towards inspired and engaging collective action, for better cities and destinations? Join us in Valencia for the City Destinations Alliance conference “Building Blocks for Destination Positive” from October 3-7, 2023 as we share and explore the promise of wegeneration in building for Destination Positive.
The 2023 GDS-Forum is a must-attend for future-proof destinations, as we convene to transform tourism and events from inside. We will be transforming mindsets, empowering sustainable leadership, fostering collaboration, and igniting innovation. In the spirit of deliberative democracy, we will gather global destination leaders and sustainability champions, 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.
In April 2023, City Destinations Alliance launched Welcoming Wegeneration as our new mission towards net positive tourism as a meaningful model of progress for Europe’s city destinations. In October, we meet to explore the work of wegeneration in progress – a collective and shared mission for positive impact and transformation. What shapes the foundation of better cities if not people, community and culture – and can we create cities, places, events and experiences that are truly welcoming to all? As we discuss the risks of new technologies, what are the people-positive possibilities of supercharging our cities, events and organisations with advanced algorithms and AI technologies?
The CityDNA Autumn Conference’s 3 days are not to be missed, as we join in a collaborative DIY towards Destination Positive. We will be stacking Lookout Towers for new inspiration and supercharged thinking and explore how best to Build the Foundation of a truly Destination Positive future. In the spirit of CityDNA’s community of sharing and learning, we will prioritise progress over perfection in sharing WIP – Wegeneration in Progress and join forces in designated Destination Maker Labs in serious play for positive impact.
Henry Ford famously said: Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you are right. Let us start by daring to think that we can – and shift from the dreamy idea of Destination Positive to laying the grounds and building towards Destination Possible.
Welcome to Valencia!
Read the programme:


October 3, 2023
October 7, 2023
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City Destinations Alliance
GDS Movement


Valencia, Spain

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