SONOMA COUNTY, CALIFORNIA (April 22, 2023) This Earth Day, Sonoma County Tourism (SCT) announces it will be seeking destination certification through Green Destinations, an internationally recognized authority in destination sustainability. Accredited by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC), Green Destinations’ certification program requires destinations to meet a set of globally agreed upon sustainability criteria, monitored through concrete and measurable indicators to ensure compliance.

If successful, Sonoma County could become the first destination in California to receive this global recognition for excellence in sustainable destination management. Within the U.S., only Breckenridge, Colorado; Vail, Colorado; and Teton County, Wyoming have received destination certification through a GSTC-accredited certification body.

“Having completed a comprehensive GSTC-assessment last year, Sonoma County Tourism is wholly committed to adopting the world’s leading sustainability criteria for tourism development,” said Devin McConnell, Sustainability and Climate Initiatives Manager at Sonoma County Tourism. “Sonoma County has long been a pioneer in sustainability and climate action. It feels only right we should work towards formal recognition as a sustainable destination.”

The certification process will involve Sonoma County Tourism submitting evidence of compliance with the criteria, followed by an onsite evaluation to assess Sonoma County’s sustainability status against the world’s leading standard. A post-evaluation report will go in front of a committee to determine compliance. If no essential non-conformities are identified, Green Destinations Certification will be issued and remain valid for three years.

“Travelers, understandably, want to know where sustainable tourist destinations are,” said Hugo de Jong, Head of Destination Certification for Green Destinations. “The purpose of our programs is not only to enable travelers to identify environmentally and socially responsible destinations, but to empower those destinations to engage in a sustainability management cycle aimed at continuous improvement. We look forward to working with Sonoma County Tourism to help realize its goals in destination sustainability.”


Media Contact for Sonoma County Tourism:

Birgitt Vaughan
Director of Public Relations
[email protected]

About Sonoma County Tourism:

Sonoma County Tourism (SCT) is the region’s official Destination Stewardship Organization. Through a multi-channel sales and marketing program, the organization promotes Sonoma County as a global visitor and meetings destination, where diversity thrives, and everyone is welcome. Stewardship and Sustainability remain at the forefront of everything Sonoma County Tourism does. As the nation’s first Destination Stewardship Organization, located in the most sustainable wine region in the world, SCT strives to create and adopt best practices aimed at protecting and preserving our destination for generations to come. To learn more about SCT’s commitment to sustainability, visit

About Green Destinations:

The Green Destinations Award & Certification Program challenges municipalities, counties, regions, and protected areas to promote responsible destination management on an ongoing and sustained basis and stimulate the tourism sector to implement environmental practices. Participating destinations engage in a sustainability management system, with periodically an independent verification of performance and progress, and recommendations for improvements. Supported by regional partners and representatives, more than 120 destinations in over 25 countries have already received Awards or Certification. Green Destinations Certification is accredited since 2018 by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC). More information: