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The network is a platform for exchanging good practice in sustainable tourism on a European level and for promoting contact between award-winning destinations. The network aims to encourage other destinations to adopt sustainable tourism development models.

The original members of the network were the 30 winning destinations from the first two editions of the EDEN competition. In 2008, they were invited to sign a memorandum of understanding, a 'Declaration on a European Network of Destinations of Excellence for Sustainable Tourism' (22 kB). By signing the declaration, the members officially committed themselves to collaborating with each other and to guaranteeing constant exchanges of information and knowledge on sustainable tourism development.

The following winners and runners-up of the EDEN competition have since been invited to join the network, ensuring a wider collection of model destinations, while preserving the strict criteria of sustainability. With more than than 350 EDEN destinations from 27 European countries as members to date, the EDEN network is the world's biggest network in the field of sustainable tourism.

In 2012, the majority of the EDEN network members established an international non-profit organisation, the EDEN Network Association. The members of the assosication have adopted a mission statement and strategy, establishing common ground for a long-term action plan.