The Global Sustainable Tourism Council CEO, Randy Durband, has been named Special Advisor to the creation of the Top 100 Sustainable Destination annual list. The initiative was created by GSTC member Albert Salman (Green Destinations) and Valere Tjolle (TravelMole, VISION for Sustainable Tourism, Totem Tourism).  The Top 100 Sustainable Destinations list aims to encourage stakeholders worldwide to adopt sustainable tourism practices. Also, Green Destinations and Totem Tourism hope to acknowledge best practices, and recognize those authentic, greener, cleaner and more responsible destinations.

The 2014 list will be compiled by Albert Salman and Valere Tjolle, in consultation with the “Green Destinations Selection Panel”, consisting of 30 international experts on tourism and sustainability.

Nominations will be accepted until 31 October, 12:00 CET. Submit your Destination Nomination Form to

The procedure for the compilation of the list is as follows:

Cities, towns, small regions, national parks, or even lakes can be nominated, not accommodations or single buildings

A very important source for list are the contents and the scores that are calculated by the Global Sustainable Tourism Review (GSTR) database that includes data for 1200 destinations.,

The GSTR database makes use of ca. 60 indicators, plus the GSTC Criteria for Destinations. Since the total number of destinations worldwide is huge, this database is not complete. Therefore, representatives of a large number of international programs for tourism sustainability have been invited to add destination information to the database, and to nominate destinations for inclusion in the Top 100. To this end, a standard nomination form has been used, enabling experts nominating destinations to provide their “Personal assessment” on the following criteria (corresponding to the six themes of the GSTR):

Criteria for selection of destinations

1. Quality of nature, wildlife experience, and landscape in the destination

2. Environment quality (air, water) and environmental care in the destination

3. Cultural heritage, local identity and tradition

4. Social issues – People & Hospitality, incl. the human rights situation, and human respect

5. Green Economy (business involvement & innovation, green & clean energy, climate adaptation, waste & water management)

6. Green Policy (GSTC-D compliance; innovation; and successful green benchmarking):

Any other element, innovation, best practice, etc. specify:

“Personal assessments” are done in the form of a rating from 1 to 5 (“5” expressing an ideal situation / performance, corresponding to the 20% best destinations in the continent; “1” expressing an unfavorable situation / performance, corresponding to the 20% worst destinations in the continent), for each of the above selection criteria.

Calls for nominations are made through social media, and key international experts were invited to join the Green Destinations Selection Panel. Panel members, and others, can nominate cities, towns, small regions, national parks, or even lakes.

The Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria for Destinations (GSTC-D) has been considered of major importance in compiling the list. For this reason, the nomination form also asks experts to indicate whether nominated destinations have been assessed on the GSTC-D (by an independent body) or have been certified through an independent 3rd-party auditor procedure.

In connection to this, it should be clarified that the Global Sustainable Tourism Review (GSTR) is not an eco-label or a certification system, but a destination sustainability support system that has been developed to make the GSTC-D operational ,and to harmonise and compare any destination assessment or certification.

Whilst there are already 1200 destinations in the GSTR database, the limitation of the GSTR database is that it mainly holds data on visible sustainability (from a range of other databases and maps), whilst the local situation and the GSTC-D policy compliance is only assessed for some 60 destinations.

The Team is aware that rates will always be somewhat subjective, so transparency is important here. This is why the listing shows:

• The GSTR Score.

• Excellence indicators: the six selection criteria for which the destination is considered very good (rate 4 or 5 out of 5).

The Team is also aware that it was very difficult to assess criterion 6 (especially GSTC-D compliance), which requires a Green Destinations verification, or certification program (e.g. Biosphere, QualityCoast, QualityDestination).

It should be mentioned that lists per continent were maximized in order to be able to present a truly global Top 100. So lists were compiled for each continent, the length of the lists more or less corresponding to the relative number of international arrivals in each continent.

For our Top 100 the following numbers were chosen:

European destinations: 50.

African destinations (incl. Libya and Egypt): 10

Asia-Pacific destinations (incl. Asian parts of Russia and Turkey, and Arabian Peninsula): 25.

American destinations: 15.

The compilation and publication of this Sustainable Destinations Global Top 100 is a unique collaborative effort of the leading international organisations and programs for tourism sustainability. It is intended to repeat this every year, and to improve the methodology and the documentation, through the GSTR. Suggestions for improvements concerning this follow-up are welcome at