In the magazine’s fifth annual “destination-stewardship survey”, Gamla Stan (Old Town) places sixth out of 109 historic destinations included in the ranking.
The Stewardship Index rating is derived from responses provided by a panel of 280 experts from a variety of fields, including historic preservation, ecology, sustainable tourism, travel writing, and, archaeology.
“An urban heritage benchmark,” the magazine quotes one panelist as saying about Gamla Stan.
“It doesn’t get any better than this. Stockholm is beautiful, clean, and dynamic,” said another panelist.
Each destination received a score based on what the magazine describes as “integrity of place”, including qualities that make it unique drawn from six criteria: environmental quality; social and cultural integrity; condition of historic buildings; aesthetic appeal; tourism management quality; and the outlook for the future.
News of Gamla Stan’s high rating was met with excitement by Ann-Charlotte Jönsson, spokesperson for the Stockholm Visitors Board.
“It’s fantastic to be honoured like this,” she told The Local.
“It helps put our city on the map and means a lot for strengthening our brand as an attractive tourist destination.”
Topping the 2008 list of historic destinations is Melk Abbey, a Benedictine abbey founded in 1089 and perched on a rocky outcrop above the town of Melk, overlooking the Danube River in Lower Austria.
The study was conducted by the National Geographic Society’s Center for Sustainable Destinations and is published to promote dialogue in support of destination stewardship.