Destinations Sustainability Stories Competition

 Applications for the 2021 Top 100 competition now OPEN

Who can participate?

Municipalities (cities, towns or rural communities), islands, protected areas and private destinations are eligible to participate in the competition.





Exceptional cases

  • Countries and regions may be eligible when their size is less than 50,000 sq km.
  • Private destinations (such as eco-lodges and privately-owned protected areas) are eligible if there is effective stewardship for a considerable area that is otherwise not managed.

Not eligible: Accommodations, single buildings, attractions and theme parks are not eligible.

How to participate?

Eligible destinations can complete the following Registration form to submit their online application.

Destinations then will receive a login to Green Destinations’ online assessment platform to complete STEP 1 of the competition.

STEP 1: Sustainability Check

This step includes:

  • A brief destination description, a map, a sustainability pitch, and 5 copyright-free pictures (high-resolution, 1 MB or more)
  • A summary of what the destination is doing to adhere to the relevant policy and management criteria of the Green Destinations Standard

Destinations which reach at least 60% compliance with the core sustainability criteria they were evaluated on in STEP 1, will be invited to participate in STEP 2. 

STEP 2: Good Practice Story

A story is structured by actors, presents a problem, a climax point and a solution. Then, a good practice story is a well-detailed explanation of a sustainability project that the destination is executing. The selection to be part of the 2021 Top 100 Destination Sustainability Stories list will be based fully on the Good Practice Story evaluations, based on 5 criteria:

  1. Completeness of document
  2. Level of innovation
  3. Level of effectiveness
  4. Level of transferability
  5. Presence of the three sustainability pillars

For 2021 Top 100 destinations will be asked to submit a Good Practice Story, focusing on one of the following categories:

Localizing the destination supply chain
Decarbonizing the destination supply chain
Tourism Reset & Recovery
Environment & Climate
Culture & Communities
Nature & Ecotourism

Top 100 Training

Participants to the 2021 Top 100 competition will have access to the Top 100 training. The training will cover the following modules:

Green Destinations core criteria

  • Overview of the GSTC recognised Green Destination Standard
  • 15 core criteria for 1st year applicants and 30 core criteria for 2nd year applicants

How to write a Good Practice Story

  • What is a Good Practice Story?
  • How to identify and write it?

How do we evaluate?


The evaluation of applications will be supported by the Top 100 Team and by an international pool of experts.


The evaluation of Good Practice Story is based on the following criteria:

  • Completeness of documentation
  • Level of innovation
  • Effectiveness
  • Transferability of innovation
  • Presence of the Sustainability pillars (Economic, Social and Environmental).

First year applicant must address 15 of the 30 core criteria.
Second year applicant must address all 30 core criteria.

  1. Sustainable destination coordinator
  2. Inventory of destination assets
  3. Destination management policy or strategy
  4. Responding to tourism impacts on nature
  5. Landscape & Scenery
  6. Solid waste reduction
  7. Reducing transport emissions from travel
  8. Reducing energy consumption
  9. Tangible cultural heritage
  10. Intangible heritage
  11. Community involvement in planning
  12. Supporting local enterpreneurs
  13. Promoting local products and services
  14. Health & safety
  15. Promoting sustainability among enterprises

All 1st year criteria +

  1. Managing visitor pressure
  2. Visitor behaviour at sensitive sites
  3. Nature conservation & tourism monitoring/li>
  4. Animal welfare
  5. Noise
  6. Light pollution
  7. Waste water treatment
  8. Waste separation & recycling
  9. Renewable Energy
  10. Responding to climate risks
  11. Managing tourism impacts on culture
  12. Human rights
  13. Inhabitant satisfaction
  14. Property exploitation
  15. Sustainability standards

Our jury

Nominations are then reviewed based on quality and comprehensibility of the provided information, supervised and supported by the Sustainable  Top 100 Destinations Jury consisting of international top experts on tourism and sustainability:

Green Destinations
Green Destinations

Albert Salman, Founder and President of the Jury

The Netherlands

ITB Berlin
ITB Berlin

Jean-François Rika , CSR Commissioner


GLP Films
GLP Films

Rob Holmes, Founder & Chief Strategist


Asian Ecotourism Network (AEN)
Asian Ecotourism Network (AEN)

Masaru Takayama



Lonneke De Kort

The Netherlands

Destination Stewardship Center
Destination Stewardship Center

Jonathan B. Tourtellot


Future of Tourism Coalition
Future of Tourism Coalition
Global Ecotourism Network
Global Ecotourism Network

Glenn Jampol

Costa Rica

QualityCoast Awards (EUCC)
QualityCoast Awards (EUCC)

Hugo de Jong

The Netherlands

Sustainable Travel International (STI)
Sustainable Travel International (STI)

Paloma Zapata



Naut Kusters

The Netherlands


Charlie Kao

Paris, France

EcoTourism Australia
EcoTourism Australia

Rod Hillman


Sustainable First
Sustainable First


For questions about the Top 100 Destinations Sustainability Stories competition please see our FAQ section or contact us at