Mountain IDEAL Sustainable Destinations

Walking Mountains Science Center supports mountain resort communities in becoming globally recognized certified sustainable destinations.The Mountain IDEAL is recognized by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) as a sustainability standard and certification program for mountain resort communities. It provides a framework of sustainable tourism criteria and performance indicators that support any mountain destination in elevating its sustainability performance, stakeholder engagement, collaboration, and recognition as a global leader.

Download The Mountain IDEAL Standard

Sustainable Tourism Training Program

How Vail Became Mountain IDEAL Certified

What is Mountain IDEAL?

The Mountain IDEAL includes criteria based on many other accepted principles and guidelines including those developed with input from the U.N. World Tourism Organization. The criteria within Mountain IDEAL provides a framework used for education and outreach, economic development, policy development, action planning, measurement, evaluation, and as a basis for destination-level certification by a qualified auditor.

What Does IDEAL Stand For?

Innovation—Try something new. Support innovative local businesses. Make a difference. Celebrate & create positive change.
Diversity—Protect mountain heritage & precious wildlife. Discover how people make the community unique. Embrace natural & cultural diversity.
Education—Elevate learning experiences about ecology, economy, & social equity. Learn with others. Educate the community along the journey to sustainability.
Authenticity—Develop & seek out meaningful authentic experiences. Celebrate the special character and history of the mountain community. Enhance well-being & foster new friendships.
Leadership—Empower the community, the destination management team, local businesses, and others. Do good together. Be leaders. Lend a hand.

Becoming Certified

To become a certified sustainable destination a mountain resort community must meet and maintain progress on over 40 sustainability criteria including: environmental stewardship, climate change adaptation, greenhouse gas reductions, cultural heritage protection, low impact transportation, waste reduction, public health and safety, workforce housing, sustainability education, and more.

The amount of time it takes a mountain resort community to attain certification varies based on the destination's scope, boundaries, prior work on sustainability, and engagement and collaboration of stakeholders.

The Criteria

The criteria and indicators within the Mountain IDEAL standard are organized into four categories:

  • Sustainable tourism management and monitoring
  • Destination planning and asset protection
  • Community engagement, culture, and social equity
  • Environmental resources, energy and water conservation, and waste reduction