World’s Top 10 Sustainable Destinations were recently unveiled and the list if full of surprises!
The World’s Top 100 Sustainable Destinations were unveiled recently at ITB Berlin. This list celebrates the efforts of tourism destinations for responsible and sustainable tourism. Nominators had to provide extensive information on their destination and its efforts to make itself more sustainable for the benefit of travellers, local communities and the world. Here are the top 10 sustainable destinations around the world:
ITB Earth Award: Republic of Palau
Over the years Palau has become well known for its innovative approaches. In 2009, Palau created the world’s first shark sanctuary and in 2015 the world’s sixth-largest marine sanctuary. In 2017, Palau was the first nation to change its immigration laws with the introduction of the “Palau Pledge”. The latest regulation relates to “reef-toxic” sunscreens: from 2020 onward Palau bans the sale and use of sunscreens containing toxic chemicals that can lead to coral bleaching. This is a world-first initiative to avoid the chemical pollution killing corals.
Read more about Palau reef ban here.
Best of Cities: Ljubljana (Slovenia)
Slovenia’s capital Ljubljana has been visibly reshaped in recent years and is considered a pioneer in high environmental standards. Ljubljana implemented many sustainable tourism actions through which the city was awarded with the title of European Green Capital of 2016. Ljubljana is surrounded by forests and hills and the relaxed and friendly city centre is best explored by foot or by bike as the entire centre is closed off for motor vehicles.
Best of Communities & Culture: Gozo (Malta)
Gozo can be distinguished from the other two Maltese islands because of its green nature, rustic atmosphere and its local identity. Gozo has beaches with excellent bathing water quality status and heritage sites recognized by UNESCO. Most of the local food is organic and eco-education is promoted through schools and NGO programs.
The island’s Ministry has set has up the ecoGozo initiative with the aim of becoming eco-friendly by 2020. Besides several actions focusing on the conservation and preservation of its natural environment, Gozo always looks into expanding tourism products to the whole island, which are sustainable and provide added value to the local community. For example, all year round cultural calendars, which have been set up by local people through voluntary initiatives, exist. The island’s efforts have been consistently recognized among the international community.
Read about how to enjoy Malta like royalty.
Best of Nature: Dutch Quality Coast Delta (Netherlands)
Westvoorne in the Netherlands’ South-West Delta region is well known for its rich flora and fauna, making it the species-richest dune landscape in Western Europe. Two beaches are Blue Flag certified and the coastline will be completely protected against buildings. The municipality has a long-term vision with having sustainability integrated as a key aspect of planning and execution. Westvoorne has optimal visitor management in the natural areas.
Goeree-Overflakkee is an island in the province of South Holland and aims to be energy neutral by 2020. A numerous activities are eco-friendly and several accommodations are certified by Green Key. The island has 8 blue flags and has won a QualityCoast Platinum Award for sustainable tourism as only one of four tourism destinations worldwide. Sustainable ways of life are promoted among its residents and there are a number of sustainable innovative projects including: a sustainable hydrogen tank station, a tidal power station and large scale solar parks.
Best of Seaside: Torroella de Montgrí – L’Estartit (Spain)
In the heart of Costa Brava, Spain, lie two towns forming part of the same municipality. Torroella de Montgri is a former royal town dating back over 1000 years with an attractive historical centre.
Montgri- L’Estartit on the other hand, is a small fishing hamlet on the shoreline next to the Medes Island Marine Reserve. The destination is committed to combine environmental protection with tourism and economic prosperity. In 2016, the Natural Park received the European Charter for Sustainable Tourism and the region forms part of the Network of European Regions for Competitive and Sustainable Tourism.
Best of Ecotourism: Republic of Guyana
Guyana is the only English speaking country in South America and one of the four regions in the world that makes up the Green Shield, with 18% of the world’s tropical forests. It boasts pristine Atlantic beaches in the north, staggering mountain ranges to the west, rainforests bursting with life and never-ending savannahs in the south.
The country’s true ethos can be felt in the many community-based tourism activities. Tourism promotes peoples and their culture. Villages have pooled their resources and come together to invest in tourism as one of their main sources of income and they have been able to manage it and not be invasive to communities who have invested into this type of tourism.
Their tropical rainforests and savannahs are known as “Land of the Giants” for being home to highly endangered species such as jaguars, giant anteaters, giant river otters and stealthy caimans. Guyana is dedicated to culture but also to nature preservation as it promotes conservation values of protected areas and species and support biodiversity conservation through sustainable tourism.
Best of Africa: Chumbe Island (Tanzania)
Chumbe Island Coral Park (CHICOP) is a private nature reserve for the purpose of conservation that includes a fully protected Coral Reef Sanctuary and a Forest Reserve that harbors rare wildlife, one of the last undisturbed tropical dry forests in Zanzibar and an Education Center for the local population.
Over the past years, CHICOP has received many awards for its sustainability programs including the World Responsible Tourism award in 2013. The overall aim of CHICOP is to create a system where ecotourism supports research, conservation and environmental education for the local population.
Read about travel experiences at Chumbe Island.
Best of Asia-Pacific: Bardia National Park (Nepal)
Established in 1988, the Bardiya National Park covers an area of 968 km2 (374 sq. mi). It is the largest and most undisturbed national park in Nepal’s southern Terai, adjoining the eastern bank of the glacier-fed Karnali River and bisected by the Babai River in the Bardiya District. The national park is renowned globally for the phenomenal success in doubling the elusive Royal Bengal Tiger numbers.
Best of the Americas: Galapagos National Park (Ecuador)
Santa Cruz is the central island of the Ecuadorian Galapagos Islands, known worldwide for evolution and conservation since Charles Darwin visited the islands. Santa Cruz is home to the largest town on the archipelago and also to many endemic flora and fauna.
The main purpose of tourism to the island and visitor sites is conservation with the least level of alteration of natural ecosystems. Santa Cruz has committed to provide accessibility to nature through tourism and to guarantee quality and sustainability in tourism. The city of Santa Cruz is a leader on the islands in recycling, environmental education and programs of sustainable tourism.
Best of Europe: Portugal
The archipelago of the Azores is made up of nine volcanic islands in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean and offers a wide diversity of opportunities for environmentally-friendly leisure and recreation, featuring rich geodiversity, marine life and well-regulated hiking trails.
The islands are well known for promoting sustainability, and have received the highest sustainability score of the Quality Coast Award. An innovative governance system aims to improve the management of nature and conservation and ensures ecological connectivity among the separate islands.
Tourism on the Azores Islands is set up to adopt strategies for long-term social and economic benefits. The development of geotourism has highly contributed to more sustainable tourism and minimizing the sociocultural and environmental impacts of tourism. A major achievement is the integration of the Azores Geopark into the European and Global Geoparks Network, which helps to alert and raise awareness for the preservation its geological features.
Here, at Ecophiles, we’ve featured the top 10 of the 100 amazing destinations that have been selected by an international Jury on the basis of their overall sustainability and of specific success stories.