Maintaining and improving high quality supply in Europe is fundamental to keeping Europe's leading position as a destination in world tourism, to meeting the challenges of competitors and to increasing its market share. The paper presents the results of eight best practice case studies of different destinations in four European countries, which were part of a study, assigned by the European Commission (DG XXIII). The purpose of the study was to determine whether selected European destinations apply integrated quality management as a means to raise their competitiveness. To this end a comparative survey of destinations was conducted, based on the European Foundation for Quality Management (EFQM) model. Its results indicated that integrated quality management in tourist destinations is rather underdeveloped. In general, destinations tend to be strong in one element of the EFQM model, such as policy and strategy or human resources management, as opposed to showing a balanced and integrated approach to quality management. (C) 1999 Published by Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.