From best to worst: 440 places graded for stewardship and authenticity.
Norwegian fjords: Rated among the very best destinations in the world. Consistently. Spain’s Costa del Sol: Among the very worst. Consistently. With hundreds of other places arrayed in between.
How well are the great places of the world taking care of themselves? This section is all about destination stewardship and authenticity. For today’s news about stewardship in destinations worldwide click on our Destination Monitor. Below, you’ll see links to opinion surveys and objective indicators that help provide ratings for different places.
In fact, there have been very few global surveys of destination stewardship. The most comprehensive were the seven landmark Destination Scorecard surveys, published by National Geographic Traveler, 2004-2010. A more narrowly focused variant (see Top 100 Sustainable, below) with a different methodology debuted in 2014.
Here for the first time anywhere, we are providing letter grades for 440 of the destinations rated by National Geographic’s expert panel. Click on these links to see them listed by rating:
- Among the Best: A to B+
- Doing Well: B and B-
- In the Balance: C+ to C
- Slipping: C-
- In Trouble: D+ to F
To see destinations and grades listed by country, download this pdf .
These destination ratings derived from hundreds of experts’ opinions on six stewardship criteria: environment, built heritage, social/cultural impacts, aesthetics, tourism management, and overall trend. They constitute a unique report card on how well destinations are taking care of themselves.
Click here to learn more about the surveys and methodology.
News About Destination Stewardship We will be monitoring stewardship of destinations worldwide by means of blogs, news aggregation, and by your own news contributions. You can read—and contribute—reports about successes, failures, opportunities, and threats in the places we love. See our Destination Monitor page for examples.
Featured Destinations Soon we will begin to feature individual destinations where changes have been underway. If you would like a particular destination featured, please contact us.
You Can Help While many ratings change little over the years, others need updating. You can help. We will invite your responses for an update. You will also be able to download a pdf of all 440 destinations and grades, by rank and by country. Please contact us if you would like a copy.
TOP 100 SUSTAINABLE DESTINATIONS The Europe-based Green Destinations group began issuing issued this “Top 100” list in 2014, based on a very different but reasonably solid methodology. We joined with Green Destinations in a similar process in 2016. While more recent than the National Geographic surveys, the ratings are more narrowly focused—mainly on environmental sustainability—and are restricted to a selection of best performers who apply for recognition. These places are vetted, so we have recognized them with a green flag (⚑) wherever our destination definitions match up geographically.
NOTE: You can send people directly to this section with the URL destinationwatch.com .