Green Destinations

Top 100 Stories


The Green Destinations Top 100 Stories is an annual competition that collects and celebrates initiatives from destinations globally, inspiring responsible tourism leadership.  

Green Destinations Top 100 Logo - 2023

About the Top 100

Who is this competition for?

Destinations, Small and Regional DMOs.


Fee waiver Program for selected destinations


Annual Competition

Certificate Validity

1 year

The Green Destinations Top 100 Stories competition has run annually since 2014, celebrating and promoting 100 destinations as inspiring examples for other destinations, tour operators and visitors.

The competition selects from an open call for applications, 100 stories that stand out in terms of effectiveness, innovation, inspiration and transferability, The Top 100 list is launched each year at Green Destinations’ Annual conference.

The best stories in the Top 100 list are nominated for the Green Destinations Story Awards, celebrated at ITB Berlin.

The Top 100 Roadmap


Any interested local government, DMO, governmental or institutional  stakeholder can start the application on behalf of the destination by completing the Registration form

Sustainability Check

Step 1: Basic check of the core sustainability criteria of the Green Destinations Standard (listed below)

Good Practice Story

Participants who reached ≧ 60% score in Step 1, are eligible for Step 2: submission of a Good Practice Story in one of the categories listed below

Top 100 list launch - GD2023 Estonia

Green Destinations Story Awards 2024 - ITB

Learn more about the competition and how to apply here.


Step 1. Sustainability Check

1st-year applicants: 15 criteria
  1. Sustainable destination coordinator
  2. Inventory of destination assets
  3. Destination management policy or strategy
  4. Tourism impact 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 entrepreneurs
  13. Promoting local products and services
  14. Health & safety
  15. Promoting sustainability among enterprises
2nd year applicants: 30 criteria

All Core 15 criteria +

    1. Managing visitor pressure
    2. Visitor behaviour at sensitive sites
    3. Nature conservation
    4. Captive 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

Step 2. Good Practice Story

Once deemed eligible, participants will be asked to submit a Good Practice Story.

A template of the Good Practice Story will be provided by the team to support destinations in this process.

Good practice story categories

  • Destination Management Solutions
  • Nature & Scenery
  • Environment & Climate
  • Culture & Tradition
  • Thriving Communities
  • Business & Marketing

Good practice story evaluation criteria:

  • Completeness of documentation 
  • Level of Innovation
  • Effectiveness
  • Transferability of innovation
  • Sustainability Pillars (Social, Economic and Environmental)


Participants gain access to the Top 100 training

All participants will gain access to the Top 100 training, to develop skills and expertise for a strong foundation to start or continue their sustainability journey. Training Modules:

  • The Green Destinations Core Criteria
  • Writing the best Good Practice Story

This training includes video presentations, webinars with industry experts, and live Q&A sessions. The Modules will be before  Step 1 and before Step 2 of the participation.

Top 100 Stories Masterclass series

Registered participants will gain access to the Top 100 Masterclass program to learn from industry experts about selecting and developing a good story.

Masterclass #1: How to write your best Good Practice Story

Patice Talaue
16 May (3-4PM CEST)
By: Patice Talaue (Green Destinations Training & Support Manager)

Do you have a great story, but can you use some pointers on how to effectively tell this story in a captivating text? This session is a very practical introduction to developing your Good Practice Story. Illustrated with both exemplary quality submissions and less successful stories from previous years, Patice will provide essential tips and insights on how to:

  • find and select a topic for your story  
  • adequately complete each section of the Green Destinations story template
  • ensure your story ticks the judging criteria

Why join?

Joining this session is essential to learn how to select a suitable topic for an attractive story and being judged more effectively.. This is your opportunity to discuss your dilemma’s on story selection,questions on the story template and ask an expert on how to tell your story.

About the presenter

With a background in Environmental Science and Marine Ecology, Patice has been leading the Top 100 training and support program for 2 years. In Green Destinations, she has developed the online training program and is responsible for the roll-out of different Support tools. 

Masterclass #2: How to tell better stories - Jonathan Tourtellot

Jonathan Tourtellot - Green Destinations Story Awards 2023 Jury
23 May (3-4PM CEST)
By: Jonathan Tourtellot (Destination Stewardship Center)

The art of Storytelling is essential in marketing your destination effectively and explaining what makes your destination unique. In this session, Jonathan will take you deeper into the art of storytelling. Drawing from his decades of experience in writing about destinations and sustainability for National Geographic and his annual Destination Stewardship Report. Jonathan will provide the essential tools that will enable you to:

  • catch readers’ attention
  • get the right message across
  • tell better stories about your destination’s challenges and successes 

Why join?

Joining this live session will enable you to ask questions about your (potential) topic to one of the industry’s most experienced storytellers and discuss issues with other contenders. 

About the presenter

Jonathan B. Tourtellot is editor of the Destination Stewardship Report, Senior Editor Emeritus of the National Geographic Society, Director of the Destination Stewardship Center and Co-chair of the GSTC Destination Stewardship Working Group

Masterclass #3: Measuring and Communicating Your Destination’s Successes- Anula Galewska

13 June 3-4PM CEST 

By: Anula Galewska (Travindy)

You’re confident that your destination has a successful story. But how do you measure this officially and communicate these successes with the most effect?

Anula will focus in this session on 3 very important elements of a quality story: 

  • assess and demonstrate the impacts of your story
  • use qualitative and quantitative data in storytelling
  • narrate the effectiveness of the project

    Why join?

    Joining this live session will enable you to share your questions on the potential impacts and communication challenges of your project with our expert Anula, and interact with other session attendees.  

    About the presenter

    Anula is Co-founder and Managing Director of Travindy, a tour entrepreneur, a sustainable tourism consultant, and the Green Destinations representative in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.

    1:1 coaching sessions available

    For participating destinations looking for more hands-on support in submitting to the 2023 Green Destinations Top 100 Stories Competition, one-on-one supervision and coaching is available. 

    The Top 100 Application Support helps participants deliver a strong submission to the competition, focusing on both STEP 1: sustainability check and STEP 2: Good Practice Story.

    Why join this competition?

    The Green Destinations Top 100 Stories provides an excellent first step for destinations looking to assess their performance on the basics of sustainability. Recognition of performance on the Green Destinations Core Criteria is illustrated in a score card, for effective and transparent communication with the general public.

    Selected destinations to the annual Top 100 list gain global exposure and promotion of their efforts for sustainable destination management. 

    Find out more about the benefits of the competition in the Call for Application brochure on top of this page. 


    Valentina Riatti
    Valentina Riatti

    Top 100 Coordinator

    Nicole Hulsebos
    Nicole Hulsebos

    Top 100 Coordinator

    Top 100 Stories 2022


    The Top 100 Good Practice Stories list is unveiled annually at the Green Destination flagship conference. Get to know this year’s inspiring collection of stories

    Join the 2023 Green Destinations Top 100 Stories to take the first step in your journey towards sustainability recognition.