North America's Premier International Resort Community

Vail Named Best of Top 100 Sustainable Destinations for 2018

  • 6 March 2018
Vail Named Best of Top 100 Sustainable Destinations for 2018

Vail is once again receiving international recognition for its collective sustainability efforts by being named the Best of the Top 100 Sustainable Destinations. A delegation from Vail is in Europe this week to accept the award in the Best of the Americas category, which is being presented in partnership with ITB Berlin, the world’s leading travel trade show, which runs March 7-11.

Vail is among 33 finalists being recognized as the World’s Best Sustainable Destinations. The selection was made by a jury representing 12 international organizations from among 100 top sustainable destinations. Categories included Best of Cities, Communities & Culture, Best of Nature, Best of Seaside, Earth Award (for environment & climate) and also the best of each geographic region of the world.

The award is presented by Green Destinations, a non-profit organization for sustainable tourism via a global partnership of expert organizations, companies and academic institutions with participation by destination representatives and stakeholders. Vail was named a finalist in the award competition in February after being named to the top 100 list during the Global Green Destinations Gala in Portugal last September.

Presentation ceremonies on Wednesday, March 7 are being attended on behalf of the community by Kim Langmaid, founder and vice president of Walking Mountains Science Center and a Vail Town Council member, along with Kristen Bertuglia, Town of Vail environmental sustainability manager, and Mia Vlaar, Town of Vail economic development director. They also attended a reception on Tuesday, March 6 hosted by Vail Resorts and their German sales team.

Vail and the other finalists were required to provide extensive information about their sustainability initiatives and their local and global impacts. The review process included an evaluation of 15 core criteria of the Green Destinations Standard, including cultural heritage conservation, solid waste reduction, accessibility and landscape and scenery.

“It is an honor to be recognized by the ITB, and a tremendous opportunity to help increase the visibility of sustainable destinations in the tourism industry,” said Vlaar.

This is third year for the Top 100 Sustainable Destinations competition and the first year for Green Destinations’ partnership with ITB Berlin.

Bertuglia says the award does much to recognize efforts at the grassroots level. “At the root of our economy and our identity as a community is the natural world, we have a responsibility to ensure that tourism is a force for good and Vail is a model sustainable mountain resort,” she said.

An emphasis on collaboration is also at the heart of the recognition, according to Langmaid. "It's an honor to work with all of our partners in Vail to accomplish this prestigious award. Vail has a strong history of leadership in environmental sustainability and we'll continue to raise the bar as we look to the future."

The spirit of collaboration is also shared by Vail Mountain’s Environmental Manager Brian Rodine. “This designation is a testament to the collaboration of many throughout the Vail community on the journey towards sustainability. We are proud to be able to align our Epic Promise for a Zero Footprint goals with this very important effort.”

A total of 155 nominations were received from 57 countries during the competition. All nominations were evaluated by experts of the Green Destinations Top 100 Team and by members of the special Top 100 Selection Panel, which included over 60 tourism sustainability experts.

In addition to the Top 100 Sustainable Destination award, Vail is awaiting word from the Global Sustainable Tourism Council on its application to become the first certified Sustainable Destination in the U.S. Other initiatives include a goal to reduce local emissions by 20 percent by 2020 and collaborative actions at the national, state and local levels to address climate change.

For additional details, visit the Global Green Destinations website at

About Vail

Under blue skies more than 300 days each year, Vail is an extraordinary mountain resort destination. The vacation experience is exceptional, from the awe-inspiring terrain and natural beauty of the surrounding Gore and Sawatch Ranges to world-class events, activities and festivals, shops and spas, and the abundant culinary experiences and luxurious accommodations that line the pedestrian-friendly streets of Vail Village and Lionshead. Vail is where outdoor pursuits meet village sophistication. Offering more than 5,200 acres of developed ski and snowboard terrain including seven legendary Back Bowls in winter, and flourishing with new summer activities in preparation for the debut of Epic Discovery in 2016, the options for year-round adventure are endless. Coupled with the vision inherent in the spirit of Vail’s founders, and a modern day commitment to excellence in all aspects of guest service and operations, Vail is a mountain resort like nothing on earth.

About Walking Mountains Science Center

Walking Mountains Science Center is a 501(c)3 non-profit based in Avon, CO and their mission is to awaken a sense of wonder and inspire environmental stewardship and sustainability through natural science education. Their sustainability and stewardship department provides the Eagle County community education and coaching through their Energy Smart, Actively Green, Eco Schools and Zero Waste programs. Most recently Walking Mountains facilitated the creation of the Climate Action Plan for the Eagle County Community and is supporting the Town of Vail through the ongoing Sustainable Destination project. Visit or call 970.827.9725 for more information.


Green Destinations Standard – 15 Core Criteria

Sustainability coordinator

A person has been assigned the responsibility and authority for the adequate implementation and reporting of sustainable destination management.

Tourism policy

The destination has an up-to-date, publicly available, multi-year tourism policy or strategy addressing all important issues.

Nature protection

The protection of natural sites, habitats, species, and ecosystems is effectively addressed and enforced. Nature degradation is addressed.

Animal Ethics

The use of animals in tourism is effectively controlled in order to decrease the risk of unnecessary suffering, disease, and death.

Landscape & Scenery

Natural and rural scenic views are protected and the sense of place is maintained; landscape degradation and urban sprawl is avoided.

Waste water treatment

Waste water treatment is adequately organised and relevant regulations are enforced, aimed to minimise impacts to people and the environment.

Solid waste reduction

Any solid waste is monitored, reduced, separated and recycled, and quantitative goals are set, especially regarding the reduction of plastic waste.

Reduction fossil fuel dependency

Adequate measures and incentives exist to reduce reliance on fossil fuels and to encourage renewable energy technologies.

Cultural heritage conservation

The conservation, authenticity and aesthetic presentation of cultural resources, sites and built heritage, is adequately organised and enforced.

Intangible heritage

Intangible cultural heritage and local life and culture, are adequately protected and respected.

Protection of people

The destination takes adequate measures to protect all people legally and effectively against commercial, sexual, or any other form of exploitation.

Inhabitants involved in tourism

Inhabitants are regularly involved in discussions on opportunities, challenges and sustainability of tourism development.

Promoting local products

The inclusion of local artisans, producers and service providers in the tourism value chain is supported; local and sustainable products are promoted.

Health & safety prevention

Crime, safety, and health hazards are adequately prevented and addressed.


Access to tourism sites is supported for individuals with disabilities, where appropriate, whilst not harming the sites and their sense of place.


Top 100 Sustainable Destinations for 2017

NECKLACE:* ALL LOGOS:SustainDestPartnerLOGOS.pdf

  • Gallery

Theme picker