Sustainable destination management can be challenging, and it may sometimes be difficult to know where to start. From reducing GHG emissions, becoming nature-positive, supporting local businesses, managing waste, water and energy efficiently, etc., destination managers have a lot of responsibilities. All the while marketing and positioning their destination to attract visitors and satisfy their expectations.

If you haven’t read our article about the First steps for sustainable destination management focused on social well-being, you may want to start with that one. It outlines why this topic is essential and the criteria identified as the first steps for sustainability performance. 

Once you’re confident with these first steps, then here are the next ones you can take:

1. Human rights

The destination must follow the highest international standard for human rights. Your destination must have laws and regulations (or actively follow national laws and regulations), monitor and report on human trafficking, modern slavery, abuse or exploitation, discrimination, and harassment.

2. Inhabitant satisfaction

“A city that is not good for its residents is not good for its tourists”. Inhabitant satisfaction, concerns and aspirations must be monitored and reported on regularly. It will ensure that residents are not suffering from tourism activities and help improve destination management to fit a common vision.

3. Property exploitation

You must have planning guidelines and regulations to optimise the socio-economic effect of real-estate development in your destination.

Download our free ebook “The next steps towards sustainable destination management” to learn more about these criteria, including examples of good practices.

Discover our ebook

What’s next?

You can receive extensive training and guidance on the first steps towards becoming a sustainable destination through the Green Destinations Top 100 Stories competition. A great opportunity for destinations to learn more about sustainable management while getting global visibility and reach for a project or initiative they have done.

As Green Destinations Representatives, Acorn Tourism can support you through your submissions to the Top 100 competition should you want to increase your scores and chances to get selected. Contact us to learn more.

The 2023 Green Destinations Top 100 Stories competition is now open for registrations.

These guidelines come from the Core-15 criteria of the Green Destinations Standard, recognised by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC). These criteria have been identified as the basics for sustainability performance.


Environmentally and Socially Responsible Tourism Capacity Development Programme for Vietnam
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Environmentally and Socially Responsible Tourism Capacity Development Programme for Vietnam

Provided technical assistance to Vietnam for the development of market research to improve the competitiveness of the tourism sector. This included a system of tourism statistics and the design of a national tourism database for tracking and informing on tourism development.

EcoTourism Routes for Forests and Peace
Branding and Marketing
Colombia tourist routes community based ecotourism

We worked with three very different rural communities, all with exceptional biodiversity and all of which had been severely affected by the conflict in Colombia. Together with E3 Group in Colombia and RHS Kew Gardens, we developed tourist routes that promote forest protection and peacebuilding through community-based ecotourism.



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