Green Destinations Toolkit

Support Tools for the Assessment and Reset of Tourism

A COMPREHENSIVE, NON-COMPLEX AND EFFICIENT SET OF TOOLS

For assessing, monitoring, benchmarking, forecasting and creating roadmaps into the future of tourism, to support destinations in their sustainability ambitions.

START Toolkit A

This tool enable you to scan the conformity of your destination’s policy and management to the GSTC-Accredited GD Standard.

START Toolkit B

This toolkit helps destinations adopt KPIs to monitor your performance against your targets and compare it with ‘reference destinations’ to know where you stand in relation to other destinations. As well as helps communicate your sustainability performance to your residents, tour operators, and visitors.

START Toolkit C

This toolkit offers you a unique combination of essential tools that can make your destination or business a Climate champion.

START Toolkit D

This toolkit helps you understand a variety of risks and opportunities related to sustainable tourism, especially in the field of nature, environment and water supply. It is based upon an interpretation of spatial data (satellite imagery).

START Toolkit E

In this toolkit, we put together a set of courses, workshops and learning tools that will lead you and your community to co-create a more resilient, balanced and abundant environment.

Toolkit A - GD Interactive Assessments

Are you considering participating in the Green Destinations Award & Certification Program? The GD Interactive Assessments enable you to scan the conformity of your destination’s policy and management to the GSTC-Accredited GD Standard. Option A1 is limited to gathering, reviewing and assessing the paperwork, with an initial scan of implementation. Option A2 will also consider policy implementation. You will work on the GD online platform with the criteria of the GD Standard which are the ones used for the “Top 100 Destination Sustainability Stories”, the GD Story Awards @ITB and Green Destinations certification.

Why: You wish to learn whether your policy and management systems are sufficiently advanced to become a sustainable destination. You can choose between the GSTC or the Green Destinations Standard. Optionally, you wish to learn (a) how your tourism management is advancing the Sustainable Development Goals and (b) about your preparedness for our Awards & Certification Program.

How: You start with performing the START SDG & Tourism Survey. This is followed by a series of online calls: several of your coordinators (for tourism management, tourism promotion, environment, nature, culture, business sector) will be interviewed on the relevant dossiers related to all criteria of the GSTC-Recognised GD Standard. Our experts will check the availability of policies and management tools. The interviews are expected to be done in about 2 days.

What: The result is a Rapid Assessment Report with an initial indication of your progress on all GSTC / GD-criteria (Destination Management, Nature & Scenery, Environment & Climate, Culture & Tradition, Social well-being and Business & Communication), and – optionally – on the SDGs.

Why: You wish to identify key actions to maximize benefits and minimize risks and impacts of tourism, with the aim to learn about and make progress on the principles of the GSTC-Recognised GD Standard. You wish to create awareness, engagement or involvement among your management team, key stakeholders and local community. In the future you may consider the Green Destinations Awards & Certification Program (ACP), and benefit from the marketing benefits through the Top 100 competition, the GD Stories Awards @ITB Berlin and the Good Travel Guide.

How: You will be working online with one of our experts who will invite you to report what your destination does in relation to the criteria of the GD Standard. You can upload relevant policy documents and reports (on implementation progress) to our reporting & assessment platform. This enables our experts to make an initial desk assessment of how well your strategy and actions are aligned to the principles of the GD Standard.

Additional On-site option: A GD expert can prepare a tailor-made program for a visit of at least four days to the destination, aimed at promoting stakeholder engagement, training, capacity building and the presentation of relevant tools of the GD START Toolkit. This visit can also include stakeholder and expert interviews to improve the assessment report.

What: The result is an Assessment Report presenting:

  • An overview of key steps and actions to increase benefits and minimize risks and impacts of tourism, with the overall aim to make progress on the principles of the GSTC-Recognised GD Standard.

  • An overview of criteria for which the destination is well, less or not aligned to the GD Standard.

  • An overview of steps that will have to be taken to prepare the destination for an award or certification audit.

Note: To create an optimal tailor-made monitoring program with key performance indicators (KPIs) it is recommended to combine this tool with a Destination Benchmarking Report [B1.2] or Destination Sustainability Dashboard [B1.3].

Why: You wish to identify key actions to become recognised as a sustainable tourism destination at the highest possible global level. In the future you may consider certification against the GSTC or the Green Destination Standard (both options are supported by the START Teamool A5).

How: One of our experts will contact you to discuss the most suitable option for you: (a) a Rapid assessment (through interviews during about 2 days); (b) an Online reporting followed by video calls and interviews of stakeholders, and an interactive assessment led by our expert) or (c) an On-site assessment visit with stakeholder meetings and interviews. The options and procedure are similar to the previous tool [A2], but adopting the GSTC Destination Standard.

What: The result is an Assessment Report presenting:

  • An overview of key steps and actions to increase benefits and minimize risks and impacts of tourism, with the overall aim to make progress on the GSTC Destination Standard.

  • An overview of GSTC-criteria for which the destination is well, less or not aligned.

  • An overview of steps that will have to be taken to prepare the destination for an award or certification audit.

On the basis of the assessment, you will know how well you are prepared for the Top 100 Stories competition, for pre-certification Awards or for GSTC-Accredited Certification.

Note: To create an optimal tailor-made monitoring program with KPIs it is recommended to combine this tool with a Destination Benchmarking Report [B1.2] or Destination Sustainability Dashboard [B1.3].

Why: You may want to know the extent to which your tourism-related businesses have adopted the ten most important practices in sustainable tourism. This is important since your businesses are the ones who welcome and receive your visitors.

How: Together with you we invite your businesses to do a survey covering the principles of the Good Travel Scan, the 10 most important elements of the Good Travel Standard for businesses. 

What: Report to destination and participating businesses with findings and conclusions, illustrated by infographics. Reports on individual businesses will only be shared with the businesses. It will give them a detailed insight into how they comply with the two standards and also what certification level they could have when participating in the Good Travel Seal.

Toolkit B - Benchmarking & Reporting

Many destinations have adopted key performance indicators (KPIs) to monitor their progress towards key targets. Green Destinations also believes that KPIs with clear targets are necessary for issues that can be managed. Global destination sustainability programs are topped by European destinations, but is that really fair? Can we really expect that a city in a developing country has the same environmental standards as a Scandinavian city? In fact, many indicators largely measure country performance. Green Destinations suggests a more practical approach. With our Benchmarking & Monitoring Tools we support destinations in adopting KPIs: to monitor your own performance over time, against your own targets to compare your destination’s performance with ‘reference destinations’, usually similar destinations in your region or country, to know where you stand in relation to reference destinations. And in addition, we offer you Public Reporting Tools to communicate your sustainability performance to your residents, tour operators and visitors.

WHY: You may want to compare the performance of your country regarding sustainable tourism-related subjects, with reference (e.g. neighbouring) countries to be chosen by you.

HOW: Depending on data available from open sources, databases and projects, we will compile data (e.g. scores, ranks and quantities) on the country in which your destination is based, and compare these with data from the selected countries.

WHAT: A Country Benchmarking Report presenting findings and conclusions on the subjects of your choice. Where useful, the data will be visualised in charts or maps. The report can include country-level information on subjects that are already addressed in a report [B2] but also subjects for which only country-level data are available (e.g. Healthcare, Water and Sanitation, Human rights, Freedom of press, Corruption, Rule of law, Energy usage, Renewable energy consumption, GHG emissions (carbon, methane).

WHY: You may want to compare your performance in sustainable tourism-related subjects with other destinations (reference destinations, to be chosen by you) and with your regional and country average. You can use this comparison to improve and promote the performance of your destination.

HOW: Depending on data available from open sources, databases and projects, we will compile data (e.g. scores, ranks and quantities) on your destination and compare these with the reference destinations, regional average and country average. For some subjects, we will refer to sources comparing your country with other countries (e.g. Good Travel Guide Global Maps and to a Country Benchmarking Report (when available).

WHAT: A Destination Benchmarking Report presenting findings and conclusions on the subjects of your choice. This will give you an insight in how your destination is doing in comparison with reference destinations. Where useful, the data will be visualised in charts or maps. When your performance is better than that of reference destinations (or better than the average of your region or country), we will suggest texts that you can use to inform your residents and visitors about this in promotional messages.

Check out the first example of a Destination Benchmarking Report that was created for the destination Schouwen-Duiveland in the Netherlands in July 2021.

WHY: You may want to have a brief comparison of your destination with reference (potentially competing) destinations in your country. The comparison will allow you to identify issues to improve your sustainability and competitiveness. It will also allow you to see where your destination excels compared to the reference destinations. These subjects can be included in a Destination Traveller Dashboard (B5).

HOW: We check the availability of data for the comparison. Then you decide what subjects will be presented as an infographic on the dashboard. We will then create a dashboard with a clarification of data sources. A benchmarking report (B2) is recommended as this provides you relevant background information and clarification of the charts.

WHAT: The result is a dashboard including infographics of subjects you have chosen. The dashboard is for internal use by your destination only.

Check out the first example of a Destination Sustainability Dashboard that was created for the destination Schouwen-Duiveland in the Netherlands in July 2021.

WHY: You may want to learn more about how you can make your city greener and more sustainable, and you intend to know where you stand and how you can improve your city’s current status by following best practices.

HOW: In this online tool developed by the European Commission you make a yes/no self-assessment of your city’s approach to sustainable urban planning and city governance in 12 indicator areas. The tool is accessible to cities with different levels of knowledge and experience in assessing the environmental performance of their city. The tool has several easy-to-use features and functions, and it is flexible too.

WHAT: After completing your self-assessment you will be presented with your score and with guidance and suggested policy actions that other European cities have taken in similar situations.

WHY: You may want a tailor-made Destination Monitoring Program to follow the trend in Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Additionally, you may wish to compare this trend with other destinations (to be chosen by you) and with your regional and country average. You can use this comparison to improve and promote the performance of your destination. 

HOW: Depending on data availability from internal and external sources, we will compile data on your preferred KPIs for your destination for a number of years (to be chosen by you) and compare these with the regional average and country average (and selected reference destinations when agreed). For a specification of suggested KPIs, see Technical Specifications Sheet [B]. However, you can propose your own set of KPIs.

WHAT: We can create an annual (or biennial) Destination Monitoring Report presenting trends and conclusions regarding the agreed KPIs. This will give you an insight in how your destination is doing in comparison with reference destinations. Where useful, the data will be visualised in charts or maps. We can report through a full Destination Monitoring Report (similar to tool [B1.2]) or through a Destination Sustainability Dashboard [tool [B1.3]) We suggest subscribing to an annual monitoring with annual summary reporting (Sustainability Dashboard) and Traveller Dashboard (tool [B2.1]). Then every 2 or 3 years you may want a full Report (to prepare for your certification reporting or Strategic planning revision.

[B2] Public Reporting Tools

WHY: The Destination Traveller’s Dashboard helps you to inform your visitors about sustainability subjects that are of interest to travelers. Due to the comparison made between the destination and other selected destinations, travelers can use this tool during their travel decision-making process to scan through sustainable options.

HOW: You decide what subjects will be presented as an infographic on the dashboard. A benchmarking report is recommended as this provides you with relevant background information and clarification of the charts.

WHAT: The result is a dashboard including infographics of subjects you chose, with clarification and sources. It should be noted that the infographics are dependent on data availability as well as that the number of infographics in your dashboard depends on the fit on the page.

Check out the first example of a Destination Traveller Dashboard that was created for the destination Schouwen-Duiveland in the Netherlands in July 2021.

WHY: You wish to share the destinations’ sustainability achievements with residents, travellers and the tourism sector. When you participate in awards or certification program based upon the GSTC or Green Destinations Standard, you will have to report publicly available information on many criteria. When you issue this public information, your award score can increase up to 8%.

HOW: You summarise your achievements for ca. 15 relevant subjects of the GD Standard. For destinations participating in the certification program, your report will be taken into account in the destination audit.

WHAT: Report that will also be published on your destination page in the Good Travel Guide. You are advised to publish it on your own website as well.

[B3] Applied Sustainability Dashboard - by Riviera Maya Sostenible

WHY: The lack of understanding why is so important to address sustainability as a  destination – not only single companies processes – needs some strategies to communicate and socialize the importance of the process,  develop tools for controlling measurable and scalable actions, and create basis for a purpose-oriented marketing (endo & exo), while fostering a GSTC Accredited Certification Process.

HOW: Creating  an “Interactive  dashboard”  that  offers  the  foundation  of a strategic management plan, as well, a participatory governance tool, with unique methodologies based on identifying, creating,  managing,  socializing  and  communicating  with  greater  efficiency  and  effectiveness  two  unique aspects: 

  1. Local key performance indicators at the local or destination level (KPI’s) 
  2. Identity profiles

WHAT: In few words, the dashboard brings together in its design: 

  1. The definition of local KPIs  (different for every destination).
  2. Identification of identity profiles, from unique identity pride and purpose identification. 
  3. The identification of local critical and risk areas.
  4. Identification and involvement of key actors.

With this tool,  it is possible to project and operate a clear and personalized  Sustainability  Action Plan and Policy with the active participation of the key actors of the resident community.

Toolkit C - Climate Services for Tourism Reset

The 2021 IPCC Report is clear: the climate breakdown is affecting us all, and much faster than we had expected. In the next 20 years, we will witness a 1.5 Celsius global warming. The message to every destination is: your infrastructure, tourism investments, number and type of visitors, and the wellbeing of your local communities are at risk. The heatwaves, the fires and the floods of 2020-2021 are only the beginning. There will be more to devastate entire regions. Rising sea levels and hurricanes will hit island and coastal destinations; increasing temperatures and snow insecurity, and retreating glaciers will affect mountain destinations and entire water catchments. Glaciers are retreating. Offsetting programs planting trees elsewhere are no longer a solution but a distraction. Instead, essential questions for us all now are: How can you stop contributing to the climate emergency? How can you get prepared for future climate changes, and start regenerating your destination? The START Climate Services Toolkit offers you a unique combination of essential tools that can make your destination or business a Climate champion.

WHY: You wish to compare the carbon footprint of your destination with other destinations. You want to identify the total CF and CF per guest and per guest night. Additionally, you are interested in the CF of other destinations including details of their number of trips, nights and main source markets as well as shares of main transport modes at arrival.

HOW: The DCF-tool (Destination Carbon Footprint) calculates the total CF and the CF per guest and guest-night. The DCF-tool asks you to define (the nearest place to) your destination listed in the tool and to provide information about the number of international and domestic arrivals, their source country and some general numbers about their travel modes and accommodation choices. Even in case you do not have very detailed data, the model will provide you with an estimate.

WHAT: The DCF-tool not only gives you a detailed report on your CF per source market main element of tourism and the eco-efficiency (arrivals per ton CO2), but also information about the tourism to your destination; in arrivals, nights and length of stay and per transport mode. By running the model for other destinations, or for instance all of your country, you will be able to compare how you are performing in terms of carbon footprint.

[C2] Climate Mitigation Planning

WHY: You wish to detect landscape risks and find opportunities for land restoration within your area. You want to visualize trends, identify patterns in the environment/weather, and detect deviations from those patterns, such as vegetation losses and droughts. Additionally, you want to learn more about the type of actions that can be implemented to regenerate the land.

HOW: Based on satellite data, our Spatial Data Expert measures various indicators that put your landscape at risk and assesses to what extent (e.g. more water used than is replenished or deforestation beyond recovery). We use historical satellite data to comprehend trends, identify patterns in the weather/environment and detect deviations from those patterns (e.g. droughts and vegetation loss). Based on those findings, we create layers that highlight the current zones of land degradation and their causes. The calculation of the surfaces in km2 and a short analysis of the land degradation issue(s) are also provided.

WHAT: Findings, conclusions and a map presenting the zones of degradation in your area, including a short analysis of each degradation issue. Optionally, indicating land restoration opportunities as part of:

  • Tourism reset and recovery (e.g. new green tourism attractions, Park & Ride)
  • Restoring degenerating landscapes for water retention, biodiversity, leisure a.o.
  • Identifying sites for new renewable energy projects
  • Assessing local risks of new energy sites

WHY: You wish to monitor the amount of living biomass (forest and other vegetation). Through the amount of living biomass, you can monitor the carbon sequestration in your area, to which you can relate your carbon emissions and your ambition to become a carbon or climate-neutral destination. Additionally, you want to identify trends related to the amount of vegetation existing, as well as to learn more about future possibilities (e.g. where new forest can be developed).

HOW: Based on satellite data and modeling techniques, our Spatial Data Expert indicates local carbon sequestration within your area. Please note that local information regarding the dominant vegetation species within your destination is required (and if available, the year of planting).

WHAT: Findings, conclusions and a series of maps and calculations of:

  • The amount of vegetation in your area
  • Local carbon sequestration in your area
  • Future potentials (e.g. locations for forest development)

[C3] Climate Risk Assessment

Between now and 80 years onward, it will be crucial for any island or coastal destinations to learn about climate emergency related risks for the safety of local communities, tourism infrastructure, investments and spatial planning. Our START Experts will be pleased to help you prepare a Climate Adaptation Plan for your destination. It is recommended to start with an assessment of the relevant climate impacts and risks. Our toolkit currently includes medium and long-term projections of:

  • Marine Flooding is a serious medium and longer-term threat since about 80% of tourism is sea-related. The risk is a combined result of sea level rise (expected to be 2.5 meters until the end of this century), land subsidence, storm surges, wave overtopping, coastal erosion and landslides. Our Marine Flood Risk projection tool [C.CRA.1]  is relevant for all low-lying coastal areas and islands.

For examples of assessments, see Destinations on the edge of water.

  • Heat waves are already occurring with a higher frequency and intensity. According to the 2021 IPCC Report, heat stress and humid heat stress will strongly increase across the globe as part of the climate emergency. This is especially problematic for cities, where one single heatwave can result in hundreds of fatalities due to the Urban Heat Island effect. Our Heat Stress projection tool  [C3.1] is relevant for regions as north as Scandinavia and as south as southern Australia.
  • Precipitation patterns are expected to change considerably across the globe as a result of rising temperatures, with some areas receiving much more and others much less precipitation, resulting in severe droughts and increasing desertification. Our Rain and Snowfall projection tool [C3.2]  is relevant to every destination depending on river water and snow.

For an illustration of the assessment tools, check this page.

Also other factors must be taken into account in a Climate Risk Assessment, e.g.:

  • Health risk due to extreme weather events, wildfires, flooding, waterborne diseases and the expanding geographical ranges of vectors (mosquitoes, ticks, fleas) bringing malaria, dengue fever, Lyme, West Nile virus, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, plague, tularemia, chikungunya, Chagas disease, and Rift Valley fever viruses. 
  • Risk of wildfires. The western states of the US, Mediterranean Europe, Siberia and Australia have suffered greatly from wildfires, resulting in huge ecological damage and taking the lives of many people and wildlife. Wildfires result from a combination of extreme heat, drought and often a lack of proper forest management and conservation.  
  • Extreme rainfall events. Over the last years there has been flooding due to extreme rainfall in several European countries and in China, resulting in many casualties. The economic costs of the July 2021 flood event in Germany alone is an estimated €30 billion. According to the IPCC Report the frequency of such events will increase. 
  • Hurricanes are expected to further increase in frequency as part of the climate emergency.
  • Melting of glaciers is expected to accelerate, causing more flash floods and in a few decades in less overall river volume. Also this will lead to more risks of flooding in river valleys and have major impacts on the water supply to cities and food production.

For a specification of the toolkit, see Technical Specifications Sheet [C].

[C4] Climate Adaptation Planning

For each destination the measures to adapt to climate pressures and become more resilient to the climate breakdown will be different. Green Destinations can connect you to experts providing tailor-made support to make your destination more resilient against climate pressures and risks. The conclusions from the Climate Risk Assessments [Toolkit C3] will always be the basis of Climate adaptation planning.

Because of the lack of planning space and the Urban Heat Island phenomenon, climate adaptation is a bigger challenge for larger cities. Therefore, it can be very useful for city planners to start their orientation with the Climate Adaptation App [C4.1]. With this free app, you will learn more about making your city more resilient against flooding, drought and heat, and about potentially suitable strategies and measures.

WHY: As a city planner, engineer, or policymaker, you are faced with the challenge of making your city more resilient against the impacts of the climate emergency, especially against flooding, drought and heat, and you want to learn more potentially suitable strategies and measures.

HOW: This free Climate adaptation app (developed by a Dutch consortium consisting of Grontmij, Witteveen+Bos, Deltares, KNMI and Bosch Slabbers Landscape) provides simple and quick access to a whole range of possible measures (mainly blue-green infrastructures). To start, a specific climate adaptation goal must be selected as well as several project-related options such as land-use type and scale. The tool consists of 6 filters with different options (see the image below). One or more options needs to be selected, for the best results, select several or even all.

WHAT: Based on your input, in less than a minute, the app generates an overview of relevant climate adaptation measures and based on the local condition and the user’s input, the tool ranks feasible measures. Furthermore, for each specific measure, the tool provides additional information such as benefits, definition, and primary function.

You can find more information about this tool here

[C5] START Greening Your City

With this Toolkit Green Destinations and its local experts can support destinations in the planning and design of new green infrustructures, in combination with improving their management. In addition, we will support destinations in greening buildings.

The START Greening Your City tools will have a range of benefits:

Environmental: Mitigates several effects of climate changes such as the flood risk, due to improving the hydrology and water management as well as it reduces the Urban Heat Island Effect due to cooling the city. This also saves and conserves energy. As well, greenery can act as a carbon sink as well as it improves air quality.

Nature: Enhances local biodiversity and provides a better control of soil erosion and runoff.

Social: Contributes to social cohesion and increases the capacity to accommodate residents and visitors and their leisure needs, especially in times of hot weather and lockdowns. Further, it reduces the noise of recreation and traffic and enhances the local food security.

Health: promotion of a more active lifestyle, increases well being and contributes to better health. It also has the potential for physical and mental healing.

Economic: Commercial attractiveness of shopping centres and businesses as well as an increase in value of houses and offices.

WHY: You may want to increase the resilience of your city towards extreme events related to the climate emergency, such as heatwaves, droughts and floods, improve the quality of life in your city, create a more attractive environment and enhance the tourist experience. As green infrastructure plays a significant role in this, you would like to know which green infrastructure fits the best in your city and what the benefits and drawbacks are. You would like to receive support in planning, designing and maintaining green infrastructures, in order to have a sustainable design and realisation.

HOW: Based on available data and a clarification of your initial objectives, we will first engage in an initial analysis of your area, considering physical characteristics, social fabric, available resources, and preferences on different criteria, such as multifunctionality and budget. All this is required to identify the most appropriate design options and measures. We will engage an expert in creating green infrastructure in the preparation of our advice.

WHAT: On the basis of this initial analysis we can make a proposition for:

  • An analysis of  physical characteristics, social fabric and preferences of the client
  • A portfolio of best practices that serve as inspirational sources
  • An overview of promising design options and measures
  • An overview of the pros and cons of green infrastructure options and measures
  • Tailor made initial design plans and ideas of urban greenery that best fit into the unique characteristics, needs and vision of your city
  • Proposals and suggestions on how best to manage and maintain your green infrastructures.

WHY: You may want to design or adapt specific buildings in a more sustainable way in order to make them more resilient towards extreme weather events and the increasing cost and footprint of cooling and heating. By doing so, you will improve the quality of life in your city and enhance the tourist experience. As the application of greenery and temperature regulating measures play an important role in this, you would like to know about their benefits and drawbacks. Additionally, you would like to receive support in planning, designing and maintaining green elements in and around your building, to enhance sustainability.

HOW: Based on available data and a clarification of your initial objective, we first engage in an initial analysis, considering the characteristics of the building(s), available resources, and preferences on different criteria, such as multifunctionality and budget. All this is required to identify the most appropriate design options and measures. We will engage an expert in creating green building elements in the preparation of our advice.

WHAT: On the basis of this initial analysis we can make a proposition for:

  • An analysis of physical landscape characteristics, and preferences of the client
  • A portfolio of best practices that serve as inspirational sources
  • An overview of promising design options and measures
  • An overview of the effectiveness of the options and measures
  • An initial list of design ideas and measures that best fit into the unique characteristics, preferences and vision re: your building(s).
  • Proposals and suggestions on how to best manage and maintain the building.

For further reading, see the Technical Specifications Sheet [C]. The sources of these sections are only added in the background document.

Toolkit D - Destination Sustainability Assessments

With this toolkit we help you understand a variety of risks and opportunities related to sustainable tourism, especially in the field of nature, environment and water supply.

This toolkit is based upon an interpretation of spatial data (satellite imagery) by a qualified expert. It will be beneficial to consider a combination of several tools, since several tools can depend on one particular data source. So when you express interest in one of the tools you will be connected to the spatial data expert who will check your interest in related tools.

The findings and conclusions will be illustrated with maps and infographics.

[D1] Theme: Nature and Scenery

WHY: You wish to identify the current and past tree cover losses due to deforestation within your area.

HOW: Our Spatial Data Expert produces a layer that highlights the current zones of deforestation. The calculation of the total surface loss in km2 and a short analysis of the forest change in that specific region over the last years are also provided.

WHAT: Findings, conclusions and a map: 

  • Presenting the zones of deforestation in your area.
  • Including a short history of the forest change.

WHY: You wish to detect natural and human threats to preservation areas within your region, such as deforestation, natural fires and droughts.

HOW: Our Spatial Data Expert highlights deforestation zones (actual and historical), as well as risks of natural fires/droughts within your area using satellite data. Past deforestation is detected by identifying mutations between satellite images captured from the last 35 years. The maps point out where trees have been removed and provide a warning when deforestation is currently occurring. Note that the frequency of satellite updates depends on your location.

WHAT: Findings, conclusions, an infographic presenting deforested areas from the last 35 years and a map presenting deforested areas.

WHY: You wish to identify the zones at risk of biodiversity loss within your area. You want to identify which species are at risk and the causes behind it.

HOW: Our Spatial Data Expert produces layers that highlight the current zones of biodiversity loss. A short analysis of the species in danger and the main causes are also provided.

WHAT: Findings, conclusions and a shareable map showing the zones where biodiversity is under threat in your area.

WHY: You wish to make an inventory of invasive species in your area. You want to assess the role of tourism in the spread of non-native species and find out what the measures are for prevention and control.

HOW: Our GIS Data Expert pinpoints the species and their location. A short analysis of the role of tourism in their introduction and possible solutions to prevent and control their spreading can be provided for an extra cost and depends on available data.

WHAT: Findings, conclusions and a shareable map presenting the invasive species in your area.

[D2] Environment & Health

WHY: You wish to identify the amount of air pollution in your region and visualize trends from recent years. This information is useful if you want to develop a policy on the reduction of air pollution.

HOW: Our Spatial Data Expert pinpoints historical and current air quality data monitored in your region and makes a trend analysis. A comparison between your destination and other selected destinations is also possible.

WHAT: Findings, conclusions and a map presenting the current quality of the air in your region and its historical path over the last x years.

[D3] Water

WHY: You wish to identify the water quality of waters in your area and detect algae blooms.

HOW: Based on historical and current data, our Spatial Data Expert pinpoints water quality data monitored in your region and creates a layer highlighting the zones with algal blooms. A short analysis of the causes and solutions is also provided. Real-time updates are not possible, but depending on your location, cloud cover and the exact location of the earth, an update of < 4 days can be available.

WHAT: Findings, conclusions, and a warning system presented as a map: 

  • Of the zones of algal blooms in your area
  • Pinpointing the current water quality in your region
  • With a short explanation of the causes and solutions.

WHY: You wish to detect oil spills in the waters within your area.

HOW: Based on historical and current data, our Spatial Data Expert highlights the zones of spilling, includes the calculation of the surfaces in km2 and provides a short analysis on the causes and prevention measures possible. Real-time updates are not possible and the frequency of updates depends on the exact location of the earth.

WHAT: Findings, conclusions and a warning system presented as a map, indicating the zones of oil spills in your area.

WHY: You wish to identify the amount of water available within your destination, assess the amount of water consumed and have an overview of the water balance. Additionally, you are interested in how much of the water consumption in your destination can be traced back to the tourism sector.

HOW: Our Spatial Data Expert indicates the amount of water available in your destination and presents the amount of water consumed in your area. Based on statistical data, he presents how much of the total water consumption can be traced back to the tourism sector.

WHAT: Findings, conclusions and infographics on:

  • The amount of water available compared to the water consumption at your destination. 
  • The water balance in your destination.
  • The extent to which the tourism sector contributes to the water consumption at your destination.

WHY: You wish to identify the water availability from a sustainable/ecological point of view, which includes the amount of water that can be consumed per year without depleting the available water in your area.

HOW: Our Spatial Data Expert indicates how much water can be consumed per year without depleting the available water in your area.

WHAT: Findings, conclusions and an infographic on the ecological/sustainable limit of the amount of water that can be consumed per year compared to the water availability in your destination.

Toolkit E - Exchange, Education & Learning

Besides assessing, monitoring and forecasting sustainability in destinations, the START program aims to empower professionals and communities by strengthening their inherent abilities for leading a flourishing future.

We believe that each and all meaningful changes start with education and information. For this reason, we get together in the toolkit [E] a set of courses, workshops, and learning tools that will lead you and your community to co-create a more resilient, balanced and abundant environment.

The tools provided in this toolkit are a collection of highly qualified courses, practices and workshops, developed by the organisations of the START Partnership.

Sustainable Tourism Destination Management

[E1] Training Course “Sustainable Tourism Destination Management”

WHY: You want to understand the essential tenets of sustainable tourism and destination management; become familiar with relevant sustainability and tourism issues and trends; recognize the role of destination marketing and management organizations in facilitating sustainable tourism development; and equip tools to help implement sustainable tourism initiatives in your destination.

HOW: You can register for the next edition of this online course, organised by Green Destinations in cooperation with Good To Great Tourism (Canada). More information: https://training.greendestinations.org.

WHAT (online): The online course covers 20 hours over 4 weeks. This includes weekly live sessions, pre-recorded lectures and independent reading. Visit our site to see the dates.

WHAT (face-to-face): When the COVID-situation is considered safe for participants and trainers, the course can be given in a classroom setting upon request. In this case, the training course will cover 3 days. To submit a request, kindly email us at training@greendestinations.org.

[E3] Reset and Recovery for Destinations

WHY: You want to understand how tourism can be an agent to advance sustainability and achieving sustainable development goals (SDGs); recognise opportunities to adapt to and recover from changing tourism market trends and demands as a result of a pandemic; and be able to create medium and long-term planning and management strategies enhancing sustainability, resilience and preparedness.

HOW: You register for the next edition of this course, organised by Green Destinations. More information: https://training.greendestinations.org

WHAT (online): The course can be given online and face-to-face. The online course covers 40 hours over 5 weeks. This includes weekly live sessions, pre-recorded lectures and independent reading. Visit our site to see the dates.

WHAT (face-to-face): When the COVID-situation is considered safe for participants and trainers, the course can be given in a classroom setting. In this case the training course will cover 5 days. To submit a request, kindly email us at training@greendestinations.org.

[E4] Green Destinations Global Leaders

WHY: You are leading an ambitious destination, umbrella organisation or business, region or national tourism board and you wish to join high-level peer-to-peer exchanges and discussions on how to create stewardship or framework programs for destinations and the business sector. You want to be able to create medium and long-term planning and management strategies enhancing sustainability and regeneration.

HOW: You can find more information in the Global Leaders Program on the Green Destinations website. As a Member you will be asked to sign the Global Leaders Pledge and to specify your own ambitions and program objectives, ​​ adopting a comprehensive strategy for reset and recovery, engaging our destinations, businesses and local communities by developing action plans protecting our values and ensuring sustainability, and by learning and sharing experience through the Global Leaders Network. 

WHAT: You will be supported in your ambitions by Green Destinations experts and by other Global Leaders. Global Leaders work programs are tailor-made and may consist of any element of the START Toolkit. The Global Leaders Network meetings (3-4 per year) are invitation-based opportunities to meet other Members, Observers and special guests, giving participants the chance to interact and learn from each other.

[E2] Top 100: Sharing Your Good Practice

WHY: You want to share your experiences and successes in sustainable, responsible or regenerative tourism with others in destination management in the form of Good Practice Stories; you wish to learn how to best create and present your story, and you may be seeking global recognition and dissemination of your stories.

HOW: You register for the next edition of the Green Destinations Top 100 Stories competition, which includes free access for your destination managers to an online training course by Green Destinations. This course provides instruction on how to make a strong application, in two steps: first, you complete a general sustainability check; and when you pass, you submit your story. The best 100 stories will be selected to the Top 100 list.  

WHAT: The Green Destinations Top 100 stories are unveiled during the annual Global Green Destinations Days. Good Practice Stories can also be presented at this event or at other workshops or webinars of the Top 100 Partnership. From the Top 100 Stories, an international expert jury selects the finalists and the winners for the various award categories of the Green Destinations Story Awards @ITB Berlin.

[E5] Visionary "glocal" bridge workshop - by Riviera Maya Sostenible

WHY: The  lack  of  understanding  how  to  apply  sustainability  locally,  based  on  International  Standards – might be SDGs, GSTC Criteria, GD Standard, GRI Standards – can be a  blockage to start any sustainability program in a Destination never before occupied on applying sustainability locally.

HOW: With a +12y experience of how difficult is taking a Destination into the sustainability journey, always inspired and guided by  GSTC  Criteria.  Sustainable  Riviera  Maya,  has created an innovative methodology – Visionary “glocal” bridge workshop, which is nothing more than a 3 pillars bridge to connect international standards with the relevant goals and objectives at the local level. highlighting local pride and drafting together a purpose-oriented path.

WHAT: Visionary “glocal” bridge – from global to local, is  a  methodological tool that is recommended as an immersive workshop to carry out prior to the collection of the information of a certification process, because it allows local actors to assimilate as their own international standards, which also means and in a very important way, the involvement of the local community in the process of assimilating the objectives and making them part of their own vision of sustainable development .