2017 Sustainable Destinations Top 100

A competition for sustainable tourism

For the third time, the 2017 Sustainable Destinations Top 100 was unveiled on 27 September 2017, World Tourism Day.
Moreover, 2017 is a special year, the United Nations has proclaimed 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development.

View the 2017 winners here!

Winners were special guests at the GREENFEST – Global Green Destinations Event 2017, 28-30 Sept. in Cascais. The competition builds upon the results of previous editions, and can be considered a follow-up to National Geographic Traveler’s Destination Stewardship surveys


For the third time the Sustainable Destinations Top 100 competition is organised by Green Destinations in cooperation with 20 other international organisations for sustainable tourism. The aim of the competition is to highlight success stories in destination management, and to exchange good practices between destinations. Selection involves formal nomination by destination ambassadors and evaluation by a panel of ca. 100 international experts.

The list is the result of open calls in newswires, social and business media. Destinations could be nominated by any interested party through a form that was available online.

Nominators had to provide extensive information on the destination and on its efforts to make itself and its stakeholders more sustainable for the benefit of visitors, its local communities and the world. Information had to be provided about the extent the destination complies with the 15 core criteria of the Green Destinations Standard (table). Over 150 nominations were received. All nominations were evaluated by experts of the Green Destinations Top 100 Team and by members of the special Top 100 Selection Panel, that included 60 tourism sustainability experts.

Please note
The Top 100 initiative aims to recognise tourism destinations that have worked hard to make a difference and take sustainability seriously, for sustainable tourism. Nevertheless, no destination is sustainable for the full 100%. Also in the selected destinations important issues remain to be solved.

Due to a lack of data, carbon emission of travellers is not currently taken into account in this competition. However, Green Destinations recommends travellers to avoid long haul travels and to compensate their carbon emissions.


A global selection panel agreed on the final Top100 selection after a review process. The selection panel leaders are:

  •                Albert Salman, president, Green Destinations foundation
  •                Valere Tjolle, TravelMole’s Vision for Sustainable Tourism
  •                Jonathan Tourtellot, Destination Stewardship Center
  •                Brian Mullis, founder, Sustainable Travel International
  •                Geoff Bolan, CEO, Sustainable Travel International (STI)
  •                Peter Prokosch, president, Linking Tourism & Conservation (LT&C).

Nomination of Destinations

Since March 2017 open calls for nominations were made through international networks and in various social networks. Nomination forms were sent to top100@greendestinations.org, providing the information to support the nomination:

  • a sustainability pitch
  • 5 pictures illustrating the sustainability pitch
  • clarification how the destination complies with the 15 Core criteria of the Green Destinations Standard

Eligibilty criteria

Countries, states, regions, cities, towns, or protected areas were eligible if the following conditions were met:

  1. An administrative organisation, governance structure, or a destination management organisation (DMO or DMC) is responsible for tourism destination management and sustainability;
  2. A destination would usually not be smaller than 50-100 sq km, and not larger than 40,000 sq km.
  3. Accommodations, single buildings, attractions and theme parks are considered not eligible: eco-lodges may be eligible if they have a recognised and strong stewardship for a large area that is otherwise not managed.

Some photos from 2017

Join the Award & Certification programme now

More than before, the selection isbe based upon Green Destinations Ratings. Therefore, Certified Green Destinations, QualityTourism and QualityCoast Silver and Gold Destinations will automatically be included in the 2017 Top 100. Join the programme now!

An initiative by

Global Ecotourism Network GEN logo