New Ranking Presents World’s Top 100 Green Destinations

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 our Sustainability Leaders initiative, 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 your own initiatives.

Top 100 Green Destinations index

Why Focus on Green Destinations?

Long gone are the times where DMOs could afford to focus on destination marketing and branding for the mere sake of increasing visitors. Authentic experiences and healthy stays are what today’s discerning travellers yearn for, with the consequence that destinations, such as New Zealand, are now looking for ways to attract fewer visitors who stay longer and spend more money (read our interview with Tourism New Zealand CEO Kevin Bowler).

The TOP 100 Green Destinations ranking (a certification custom-tailored to the needs of destinations is in the making) 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”. Albert is developing Green Destinations in partnership with Suzanne van der Veeken.

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).

Destinations that have received a QualityCoast or QualityDestination Award can automatically be seen as a Green Destination, like any other destination certified through a GSTC-D compliant programme. Here’s more

Top 100 Green Destinations Ranking (beta)

Although still in beta stage, the Top 100 Green Destinations Ranking looks very promising as a tool for environmentally conscious travellers, who can access the map via or on’s ethical travel portal BookDifferent.

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.

For details and latest updates, visit

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