Tallinn improves its score as a sustainable tourism destination in the global rankings

Tallinn has shown progress in the Global Destination Sustainability Index (GDS-Index) 2023 analysis, a program renowned as the most reliable benchmarking and improvement tool in tourism sustainability. Since joining the program in 2021, Tallinn has consistently improved its performance. Today, it surpasses the average scores of cities in North America, Eastern and Western Europe, and also ranks higher than any other city in Eastern Europe in individual assessments.

The program unites innovative cities focused on creating destinations where both communities and visitors feel welcome and the environment is preserved.

“We are glad to have joined the GDS-Index in 2021 because it offers an excellent framework to reflect on our sustainability journey,” noted Deputy Mayor Joosep Vimm. “We see areas for further improvement and development in making our city an even better place to live for our residents and an exceptional destination for both tourists and business travelers. This year, we are immensely proud of our tourism suppliers in Tallinn. An increasing number of them are committed to sustainable practices. Currently, Tallinn boasts 17 internationally eco-certified hotels, 23 establishments offering unique dining experiences, 7 venues for events and experiences, and 3 travel and adventure tourism companies.”

The GDS-Index evaluates 70 indicators across four key sustainability areas, focusing on environmental and social aspects, and the performance of tourism suppliers and destination organizations. The assessment covers environment, waste management, transportation, corruption, healthcare, accessibility, hospitality sector, and destination management strategies, among others.

Participating in the program for three years, Tallinn has improved its performance annually in all categories. This year saw significant progress in the category evaluating supplier performance, doubling the score from 2022. The destination management category rose by a quarter, with an average score of 63.8 points in 2023 (compared to 56.6 in 2022 and 49.5 in 2021).

The GDS-Index, inspired by forward-thinking initiatives from Scandinavian cities, continues to lead with scores closest to the perfect 100 points. Gothenburg leads with 94.64 points, followed by Oslo with 92.46 points, and Copenhagen with 91.73 points.

“We support our tourism suppliers with advisory services and best international practices,” says Evelin Tsirk, Head of the Tourism Department at Tallinn Strategy Centre. “For instance, we collaborated with the Estonian Hotel and Restaurant Association to invite sustainable food culture experts from the MAD Academy and organized the carbon-neutral Green Destinations conference with EAS. Our focus is to better measure and communicate the sustainable strides made by Tallinn and the tourism sector.”

While there is still a gap to the results of Scandinavian cities (average 82.2 points), Tallinn’s score of 63.8 points deserves praise, surpassing the averages for North America (42.0), Eastern Europe (49.0), and Western Europe (63.0). The Asia and Pacific region cities in the program are within reach, scoring an average of 71.0 points.

For more information about the GDS-Index and the GDS-Movement it has inspired, visit Its purpose is to inspire, engage, and enable destinations to become more regenerative, flourishing, and resilient places to visit, meet, and live in.

Riine Tiigi

Marketing Manager