Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

About the Sustainable Top 100 competition

Is it required to pay a participation fee to join the 2019 Top 100 or Best of Top 100 Awards?

For 2019, there is no participation fee for the Best of Top 100 Awards at ITB Berlin (4 March 2020).

However the following rules apply to the Top 100 competition to keep it open for new destinations every year, and avoid external criticism:

  • All destinations will be subject to independent third-party audit once every 2 years. This means that destinations are expected to facilitate an audit through the GD Award & Certification Program;
  • 1st and 2nd-year applicants from Latin America, Africa & Asia will be subject to an audit within the “Top 100 Audit” participation option, for which a Registration fee of 500 € applies;
  • Privately-owned areas, eco-lodges and game reserves are only eligible if they have effective stewardship of a considerable protected area. A Registration fee applies, whose amount depends on the registration date:
    • 350 € before the May 1st deadline;
    • 500 € after the May 1st deadline. The reason for the fee increase is that the evaluation of nominations requires time and, as the deadline expired, the evaluation Team may need external help which we will have to pay for.
  • Priority will be given to destinations that have achieved GD Award or Certification so in order to secure selection, applicants can choose to join the GD Award & Certification Program which is subject to a yearly membership fee (includes a.o. a bi-yearly external audit, recommendations report, license to publicly display GD Award logo and flags, publicity and of course guaranteed selection to the yearly Top 100 in case of Silver+ level achievement).

Is it possible to send information concerning the nomination via e-mail?

This is in principle not possible – answers about criteria and indicators, pictures, and documents need to be provided on the Green Destinations platform. A nomination through an offline Nomination Form is only possible in case you have insufficient bandwidth to operate the online platform.

Is it sufficient to send the Registration Form to the Team to complete the nomination?

No, sending the Registration Form is the first step of the procedure. When the Registration Form is received and the eligibility of the destination approved, the nominator receives from the Team further instructions on how to complete the nomination via the Green Destinations platform.

Does the Team receive an automatic notification when the nomination is complete in the Green Destinations Platform?

No, we request nominators to notify the Team via email ( that the nomination is complete.

Does the Top 100 Team receive an automatic notification when the Sustainable Tourism Story has been submitted?

No, to submit a Sustainable Tourism Story we request nominators to notify the Team via email that the Sustainable Tourism Story has been completed (

Where is it possible to find information about the Sustainable Tourism Story?

Information about the Sustainable Tourism Story can be found in the Guidance of the Criterion 0.13 in the Top 100 Nomination Form.

About the Sustainable Top 100 competition and the GD Awards & Certification Program

What is the difference between the Top 100 Competition, the Best of Top 100 awards and the GD Awards & Certification program?

  • The yearly Top 100 competition is jury-evaluated sustainability performance based on 15-30 core criteria of the Green Destinations Standard, and a full Indicator report.
  • Best of Top 100 Awards are based on jury-evaluated sustainability success stories of Top 100 destination. Destinations selected to the 2018 and 2019 Top 100 are eligible to submit a story for the ‘Best of Top 100 Awards’ at ITB Berlin 6 March 2019
  • Green Destinations Awards are pre-certification recognition of destination sustainability based on the full set of GSTC-recognised Green Destinations Standard criteria and Indicators.
  • Destinations are eligible for GSTC-Accredited GD Certification if all mandatory GD Standard criteria are met.

Are Awards mutually exclusive of each other in that joining one Award Program automatically disqualifies you from joining the other?

Not at all, on the contrary they reinforce each other:

  • Previous Top 100 selection is a positive indication whether a destination will qualify for Green Destinations Awards or Certification
  • Green Destinations and QualityCoast Awards (Silver+) and Certification are a guarantee for yearly selection to the Top 100
  • GD/QC Award level (Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum) is a good indication whether a destination will qualify for Certification
  • GD/QC Awards are still valid when achieving Certification

What is the difference between the Green Destinations Awards and the Quality Coast Awards?

GD and QC Awards are just different ‘brands’ of the same award (procedure). Destinations can choose under which brand they wish to be recognised. Large destinations (regions, countries) may even choose to use both – QC for coastal areas and GD for inland territories.