The Alternative Travel Index Explained

The Alternative Travel Index uses a wide range of data from prominent international organizations and institutions, to identify the World’s Best Alternative Travel Destinations, with a specific focus on Ecotourism, Active Travel, and Cultural Travel. Here’s the complete list of the indicators used:

Indicator Category Source
Global Peace Index Safety & Security Vision of Humanity
Access to improved sanitation Health & Hygiene WHO
Access to improved drinking water Health & Hygiene WHO
Hospital beds/10,000 pop. Health & Hygiene World Bank
Number of World Heritage natural sites The Environment UNESCO
Environmental Performance Index The Environment Yale University
Number of World Heritage cultural sites Culture UNESCO
Oral and intangible cultural heritage Culture UNESCO
Visa requirements Other UNWTO
Quality of electricity supply Other WEF
Quality of air transport infrastructure Other WEF
Quality of railroad infrastructure Other WEF
Ground transport efficiency Other WEF
Price competitiveness Other WEF
Population and tourists density peak Other Author
ATMs per 100,000 adults Other World Bank

The Index is calculated every year in mid-April as a weighted average of the indicators, taking into account the relevance of each of them for an alternative traveler. The population and tourists density indicator, in particular, is supposed to reflect the negative impact of mass tourism. The list of countries covered (136) and some of the indicators come from the World Economic Forum’s TTCI.

More weight is given to environmental or cultural indicators in compiling the corresponding lists (Top 10 Eco/Active Travel and Top 10 Cultural Travel), while the Top 20 Most Underrated Travel Destinations includes the countries that get the highest score in proportion to the number of tourists they receive annually.

Data are missing for Cuba, Greenland, Maldives, Myanmar, and Seychelles.

You can consult all rankings in our Destinations section. For any further information or question about the Index, please feel free to get in touch.