Hakone Selected First in “Top 100 Sustainable Tourist Destinations in the World”

The town of Hakone, Japan was awarded the prestigious first place in the “Green Destinations Top 100 Stories of 2024” for its efforts in creating a more welcoming “Universal Tourism” destination and experience for those with accessibility challenges.

Hakone has built on its success from being selected as a finalist in the “Green Destinations Top 100 Stories 2023” for our efforts with local guides. This year, Hakone activities promoting accessible tourism won the top recognition in the “Business & Marketing Category,” globally.

The “Green Destinations Top 100 Stories” annually selects 100 regions worldwide committed to sustainable tourism. Regions that pass the initial assessment are required to create and submit Good Practice Stories addressing solutions to sustainable tourism challenges in the second assessment phase. After evaluation by experts, 100 regions are selected, with top nominees being invited to an awards ceremony in Berlin annually.
Hakone’s efforts in “Universal Tourism” implementation and its tourism management through Hakone DMO (Hakone Town Tourism Association) were recognized. Collaboration among residents, tourism operators, town administration, and the social welfare bodies in creating initiatives like the “Hakone Tourism Map for Wheelchair Users” transcended traditional tourism frameworks, leading to its outstanding recognition.

Business & Marketing Category Rankings:
1. Hakone Town, Japan
2. Toucheng Leisure Farm, Taiwan
3. Park City, USA


About the "Top 100 Sustainable Tourist Destinations in the World" from Green Destinations

This annual selection aims to gather and share stories and exemplary cases related to sustainable tourism from tourist destinations worldwide. Each destination must meet 15 out of 100 international criteria to qualify, submitting detailed reports on their efforts concerning long-term tourism strategies and the natural impact of tourism. The selection process evaluates these submissions, with only selected regions being eligible to enter. In 2022, Hakone Town, along with several other regions, was chosen. While being part of the Top 100 is the initial step in the award system it also contributes to branding regions as leaders in sustainable practices.

About Green Destinations

Green Destinations is an international accreditation body based in the Netherlands and is one of the international certification bodies for “sustainable tourism,” developed by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC). It operates an award and certification system for tourism destinations.

About the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC)

GSTC is an international non-profit organization established in 2007 with the aim of promoting sustainable tourism and developing international standards for sustainable tourism. The standards developed by GSTC are the only ones in the world developed under the auspices of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and in collaboration with over 150 organizations worldwide, including United Nations agencies such as the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), private companies, NGOs, and more.