World’s TOP 100 Green Destinations is a new ranking of tourist destinations according to their sustainability credentials. Sustainable tourism development being a key topic for destinations around the world, this index comes with high hopes and expectations.
For destination managers and marketers, the Green Destinations initiative offers a way to identify best practice examples and to benchmark their own initiatives.
Why focus on destination sustainability?
Long gone are the times where DMOs could afford to focus on destination marketing and branding for the mere sake of increasing visitor numbers. Authentic experiences and healthy stays are what today’s discerning travellers yearn for. The consequence is that destinations, such as New Zealand, are now looking for ways to attract fewer visitors who stay longer and spend more money (see our interview with Tourism New Zealand CEO Kevin Bowler).
The TOP 100 Green Destinations ranking identifies those destinations which provide what those visitors are looking for, making them more future-proof.
The initiative to establish Green Destinations as an organisation was taken by Albert Salman to provide an organisational platform for the brand “Green Destinations”.
Green Destinations provides a global platform for ambitious destinations eager to improve their quality and sustainability, from their own strengths, in a measurable and transparent way.
Characteristics of a green destination
The new initiative defines the term “Green Destination” as a tourism destination (city, town, island, National Park, resort area, etc.) that:
- in general stands out well above the average;
- is sufficiently green or sustainable through the eyes of a visitor;
- has a sustainable tourism policy of sufficient quality in relation to the Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria for Destinations (GSTC-D).
Sustainable destination principles
Green Destinations assists ambitious destinations with a customized, interactive approach to improve quality, sustainability and market visibility, based on the following 3 principles:
Think globally, act locally: Take a strategic approach based on common local ambitions
A strong local economy: Create synergies between local businesses and the local community
Transparency: Tell the world what you’re doing
4 step approach
Green Destinations approaches sustainability for destinations according to these 4 steps:
Step 1. Self-assessment
Assess the current sustainability situation of your destination with the Green Destinations Standard.
Step 2. Assessment verification
Discuss your self assessment results with a Green Destinations expert and develop a plan for short-term improvements.
Step 3. Certification
Become officially recognised by certification programs meeting your ambitions after third-party auditing.
Step 4. Monitoring & benchmarking
Measure your progress in an easy and affordable way, enabling you to take measures where necessary.
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