World’s 10 Most Ethical Destinations 2014

By Nellie Huang

Bahamas Orange Creek

While we’re on the topic of ethical travel, here’s an interesting list I’d like to share with you.

Every year, the non-profit organization Ethical Traveler conducts a survey of developing nations — from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe — to identify the world’s best travel and tourism destinations. They choose the ten that are doing the most impressive job of promoting human rights, preserving their environments, and supporting social welfare – all while creating a lively, community-based tourism industry. the creation of the list, Ethical Traveler emphasizes that, “No country is perfect. All nations have genuine shortcomings. Each of their winners, however, had made a genuine effort to ‘do the right thing’ in the many areas that they take into consideration.”

Of the top ten countries, we’ve only been to four of the ten countries but we haven’t found any of them particularly ethical in terms of protecting their environments except for Palau which has done a great job protecting its marine life. I am however quite surprised that Bhutan didn’t make the list. It’s definitely the only country that I know with government policies that focus on environmental and human rights protection. Scroll down to the end of the post to see the full list and let us know if you agree with the list!

How the List is Created

With a list of nations in hand, the organize starts by conducting their research on three general categories: Environmental Protection, Social Welfare and Human Rights. For each of these categories they look at information past and present to understand not only the current state of a country, but how it has changed over time. Their main resource is the Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC) Environmental Performance Index (EPI). Equally weighted was the EPI trend rank, which monitors improving or declining performances in environmental protection.

About Ethical Travel

Ethical Traveler is an all-volunteer, non-profit organization founded to “empower travelers to change the world.” They seek to use the economic clout of tourism to protect human rights and the environment. It was founded by Jeff Greenwald, an active and respected member of the world travel community for over 25 years and award-winning author of six travel books and hundreds of articles. He was compelled to direct his passionately humanitarian voice towards creating such a traveler’s alliance. In the creation of the list, no money or donations of any kind were accepted from any nations, governments, travel bureaus or individuals.

World’s 10 Most Ethical Destinations 2014

Here is the full list of the 2014 winners.

The winners, in alphabetical order (not in order of merit), are:

1. The Bahamas

Flickr image by Trish Hartmann

2. Barbados *

Barbados beachFlickr image by Berit Watkin

3. Cape Verde*

Cape VerdeFlickr image by Erik Kristensen

4. Chile

Chile San Pedro de AtacamaFlickr image by Trodel

5. Dominica

Whale watching in DominicaFlickr image by Kartlasarn

6. Latvia *

Riga, Latvia

7. Lithuania *

Trakai from aboveFlickr image by Mindaugas Danys

8. Mauritius *

Mauritius sailing
9. Palau *

Palau jellyfish lake
10. Uruguay *

Uruguay colonial architectureFlickr image by Rod Waddington

( * = also appeared on the 2013 list).

Have you visited any of these countries? Do you agree with the list?

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