Green Destinations

Top 100 Stories


The Green Destinations Top 100 Stories competition is an annual competition that celebrates and promotes Sustainable Tourism initiatives from destinations globally.

Green Destinations Top 100 Logo - 2023

About the Top 100

Who is this competition for?

Destinations and Small & 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 and businesses as inspiring examples of Sustainable Tourism for other destinations, tour operators, and visitors.

The competition selects 100 Sustainable Tourism stories through an open call for applications. The stories are judged in terms of effectiveness, innovation and transferability.

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

Interested to join the 2024 Top 100 Stories competition? Register here!

Introduction Session

For all interested, new and potential Top 100 participants, we have hosted several Top 100 introduction sessions highlighting the following topics:
  • The GSTC recognized Green Destinations Standard
  • Step 1: Sustainability check:  What are the Core Criteria that you will have to report on, and how to use the Green Destinations online reporting platform
  • Step 2 Good Practice Story: What is a Good Practice Story, and how to identify it.
If you haven’t been able to attend a live session, you can review below recorded session:

Why join this competition?

The Green Destinations Top 100 Stories competition provides an excellent first step for Participants looking for recognition of their efforts in Sustainable Tourism. The performance of your destination will be assessed on the GSTC-Recognized Green Destinations Standard V2 core criteria and will be illustrated in a scorecard for effective and transparent communication with the general public. 

Once selected, participants will generate exposure for their destination through the communication channels of Green Destinations and the Top 100 unveiling ceremony at our annual Green Destinations Global Conference. A great opportunity to share your Sustainable Tourism Story and Solution with your stakeholders, clients, and other destinations dealing with similar challenges.

Lastly, selected participants are eligible for a Green Destinations Story Award at ITB Berlin to gain global exposure and promote their efforts for sustainable destination management.

The Top 100 Roadmap for Destinations


18th March – Registration deadline

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

1st April – Sustainability check submission deadline

Step 1: Basic check of the core sustainability criteria of the Green Destinations Standard

Good Practice Story

3 June – Good Practice Story submission deadline

Participants who reached ≧ 60% score in Step 1, are eligible for Step 2: submission of a Good Practice Story.

Top 100 list launch - GD2024 Global Conference

Sept-Oct 2024 (Date to be confirmed)

The Top 100 list will be officially revealed during a festive ceremony at our annual GD event

Green Destinations Story Awards 2025 - ITB

March 2025 (Date to be confirmed)

The best stories in the 2024 Top 100 list are nominated for the coveted Green Destinations Story Awards, celebrated at the annual ITB Berlin tourism conference.

You can also review the Top 100 Terms & Conditions here.


Step 1. Sustainability Check

Green Destinations has developed the Sustainability Check for non-audited applicants who are committed and have the basic elements of Sustainable Tourism established at their destination or business. This Sustainability Check is performed by the applicant through our online reporting platform and reviewed by one of our evaluators. 1st year applicants need to complete 15 criteria, and 2nd year applicants 30 criteria.

A minimum of 60% of the criteria needs to be achieved to be eligible to submit a Good Practice Story. Recognition of performance on the GSTC-Recognized Green Destinations Standard V2 core criteria is illustrated in a scorecard, which will be provided once the Top 100 list is finalised. Participants can use this scorecard to effectively communicate and promote their sustainability efforts.

Destinations - 1st year applicants: 15 criteria (min. 60% compliant)
  1. Promoting local products and services 
  2. Promoting sustainability among enterprises 
  3. Human rights 
  4. Supporting local entrepreneurs 
  5. Equal and fair employment (enterprises) 
  6. Low-impact mobility 
  7. Solid waste reduction 
  8. Reducing transport emissions from travel 
  9. Reducing energy consumption 
  10. Wastewater treatment 
  11. Nature conservation 
  12. Tangible cultural heritage
  13. Intangible heritage 
  14. Inventory of destination assets 
  15. Destination Management Policy or Strategy
Destinations - 2nd year applicants: 30 criteria (min. 60% compliant)

All Core 15 criteria +

    1. Sustainability standards 
    2. Inhabitant satisfaction)
    3. Managing visitor pressure 
    4. Health & Safety 
    5. Noise 
    6. Light pollution 
    7. Renewable Energy
    8. Responding to climate risks 
    9. Waste separation & recycling 
    10. Water consumption reduction 
    11. Tourism impacts on nature 
    12. Landscape & Scenery
    13. Managing tourism impacts on culture 
    14. Trained Coordinator/Team
    15. Visitor behavior at sensitive sites

Step 2. Good Practice Story

If eligible (when the Sustainability Check is passed or the participant is enrolled in the Green Destinations Awards and Certification Program), applicants can submit a Good Practice Story. A template of the Good Practice Story will be provided to support destinations in this process.

The available categories are:

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: The extent to which the story is backed up with evidence, images and (web)references to which quantitative and qualitative data is provided that demonstrates its impact.
  • Sustainability Pillars: The extent to which the GPS touches on all 3 Sustainability Pillars (Social, Economic and Environmental).
  • Level of Innovation: The extent to which the approach to the sustainable tourism challenge and the solution are innovative and original. Or, an existing solution is implemented innovatively and adapted to the circumstances of the destination.
  • Effectiveness: The ability to solve a tourism sustainability problem/challenge by implementing a solution in the destination which benefits a majority or multiple actors. The outcome of the solution can be measured.
  • Transferability of innovation: The extent to which the GPS can be applied to solve sustainability tourism challenges in other destinations with similar effectiveness. Transferability should be approached in 2 ways: conceptually (the project can be replicated easily) and practically (the sections ‘steps’ and ‘lessons learned’ are described in detail and give other destinations cues for replication).


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:

  • Access to online self-paced training with different modules, such as the GD Core Criteria
  • Live online Masterclasses (3x) by experts in Sustainable Tourism on how to write the best Good Practice Story

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
26 March (3-4 PM CET)
By: Patice Talaue (Green Destinations Training & Support)

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
11 April (3-4 PM 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: AI as supporting tool with the Good Practice Story (GPS) Template


25 April (3-4 PM CEST)
By: Dr. D’Arcy Dornan (Green Destinations’ Director of Destination Development and Innovation)

AI is becoming ever more integrated into all levels of today’s society, making our lives easier and ever more efficient, but also presenting the possibility of our losing uniqueness in the content we create.
In this session D’Arcy will demonstrate the role AI can have as a supporting tool during the development of your Top 100 Good Practice Story in combination with the template to help you create your destination’s truly authentic story.

D’Arcy will highlight:

  • What is the rationale for using AI as a tool in your Top 100 Good Practice Story
  • What are the benefits and dangers of integrating AI in storytelling
  • Practical applications of AI with the Top 100 Good Practice Story template

Why join?

Joining this live session will enable you to ask questions about your (potential) use of AI to an expert in the field, and discuss the potential use of AI with other contenders.c

About the presenter

With over 20 years of global experience in leading and managing projects across sectors and industries, Dr. D’Arcy Dornan is a global ESG sustainability and business and destination development professional who works at the cross section of AI, EdTech, and other technologies, applied R&D, circular economies, and new partnership development. 

1:1 coaching sessions available

Destinations participating in the 2024 Green Destinations Top 100 Stories Competition can access personalized one-on-one supervision and coaching for hands-on support in their submissions. 

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.

Bart Hageman
Bart Hageman

Top 100 Manager

EcoTourism AU
Slovenia Green

Top 100 Stories 2023

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 2024 Green Destinations Top 100 Stories to take the first step in your journey towards sustainability recognition.