Tourism Destination Certification

Certifying destinations for resilience, sustainability, and cultural richness through collaborative efforts with communities.

Our commitment extends beyond individual businesses to entire destinations. Through our Tourism Destination Certification, we collaborate with local communities and authorities to create sustainable and resilient travel destinations. This certification is a testament to our shared dedication to maintaining the ecological balance and cultural richness of these areas.

Destination Certifications

About the Green Destinations Certification Programs for Destinations

Who is this program for?

Municipalities, counties, regions, islands protected areas etc.

Certificate Validity

2 years for Awards and 3 years for Certification


Initial engagement phase followed by minimum 2 years membership


Starting from €2300 annually, based on destination size and type. Discount for low & middle-income countries

Green Destinations & Quality Coast Award


GD Awards indicate (independent auditor-evaluated) compliance levels with the Green Destinations Standard, recognised by the GSTC. Audits are required every 2 years and result in Bronze, Silver, Gold or Platinum designation. QualityCoast Awards are especially designed for destinations focusing on waterfront sustainability, seaside, and beach quality. We celebrate our certified destinations at our annual Global Green Destinations Conference and our yearly ITB Berlin event.

GSTC Certification by Green Destinations

“Green Destinations Certified” is our option to obtain GSTC Certification: global recognition for excellence in sustainable destination management.


The certification is Accredited by by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) for adhering to the highest standards of transparent, objective and evidence-based certification. The audit is more rigorous involving broad stakeholder consultation to verify compliance, and all criteria compliance should be fully supported by documented evidence.



Why join this program?


Destinations enrolled in the Awards and Certification Program participate in a sustainability management cycle aimed at continuous improvement through regular assessments and independent verification.


Our certification programs are structured by the sustainability management guidelines of our Green Destinations Standard, which is recognised by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) to cover globally agreed sustainability requirements. Progress is monitored through indicators, which makes the program concrete and measurable. You can easily implement our guidelines and indicators in your management system.

Destinations signing up for the GD Certification Awards and GSTC Certification program engage in a sustainability management cycle aimed at continuous improvement with periodic assessment and independent verification.

The main steps include:


1. Registration 


Register your interest for Award or Certification by filling in this online registration form. Based on the submitted details such as destination size and location, we will send you an offer for certification.


2. Engagement and reporting


Induction training to destination sustainability and how to apply the GD Standard, and report your compliance to the GD Standard on our online assessment platform. Coaching by GD secretariat or local representative.


3. Evaluation


Technical check and independent audit of reported sustainability compliance.


4. Certification


A Certification Committee evaluates auditor conclusions and (upon sufficient score), issues the Award or GSTC Certification, which remains valid for 2 or 3 years, respectively.


5. Action planning for continuous improvement


The online assessment platform provides an Action Planning tool and good practice examples for easy planning and implementing your sustainability improvements following the independent evaluation recommendations. 

The Green Destinations Standard

The Green Destinations Standard is the backbone of our Award & Certification program. It is a GSTC-recognised set of criteria to measure, monitor and improve the sustainability policy and management of destinations and regions. It makes sustainable development concrete, objective and demonstrable. In 2020, the 1st GD Standard (developed in 2016) was updated based on consultation with the GD Partnership and re-aligned with the GSTC Destination Criteria V2 – prolonging its ‘GSTC Recognised Status’ in 2021.