There are many aspects of a destination that make it an enticing vacation spot – the weather, attractions and cost are all major parts of how popular a country or island is for travel. However, environmentally conscious travelers may factor in another element when deciding where to travel for their next trip – how ethical the location is.
Every year a project of the Earth Island Institute called the Ethical Traveler, a nonprofit organization that works to promote eco-friendly traveling, announces its list of the top 10 ethical destinations in the world. The results are meant to show that the choices travelers make can have a significant impact on the world.
A combination of eco-friendly and people friendly
According to the International Business Times, the revealing of the list is looked upon as an important event for many countries, bringing dignitaries and ambassadors to California where the unveiling takes place.
“Travel is the largest industry in the world, which in turn makes travelers the largest political action group. But they’re not always aware of the power they have,” Jeff Greenwald, executive director of Ethical Traveler, said, as quoted by the IBT. “Where we choose to spend our travel dollars has an enormous impact on international goodwill.”
Declaring which country is most ethical sounds like a daunting or even unachievable task, but the Ethical Traveler uses a number of resources to do so efficiently. The top countries were chosen by 15 researchers who conducted surveys within 150 developing regions – from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe – that examined how far a destination had come in terms of its physical condition over time. In addition to the survey, they also used data collected from 35 reputable sources, including the Environmental Performance Index and the World Bank.
The last characteristic of a country that researchers took into account was whether it offered a welcoming environment for tourists, including ample opportunity for travelers to immerse themselves in the surrounding culture, according to the Ethical Traveler.
CNN noted that every destination on the list encourages the exploration of its outdoor activities, its incredible natural beauty, and a chance to interact with local people and cultures in a meaningful way. For your next trip, consider visiting one of these ethical countries for an eco-friendly, inviting atmosphere.
Which are the most ethical countries?
Cape Verde, Mauritius, Vanuatu, Palau and Tonga are a few of the locations on the list. The Ethical Traveler pointed out that a trend found within the list was that seven of the 10 winners were islands. Greenberg explained that the reason behind this is likely a result of the changing weather. Since climate changes often have a dramatic impact on an island, people are forced to be alert to how crucial effective environmental policies are to the well-being of residents.
Samoa is another destination on the list, having recovered from the Ethical Traveler’s decision to remove it from last year’s round of winners. It was excluded from the list because native forests across the land were being logged in 2014, according to the IBT.
Chile was one of the three non-island winners – including Uruguay and Lithuania – that showed its dedication to sustainability through impressive energy conservation, new education programs, sustainable farming and an active goal to protect the country’s Andean glaciers.
Dominica was also a winner, with clear efforts to reduce its carbon footprint, which was set last year and has since showed a great deal of progress. Greenwald commented that the yearly report proves the world is making great progress in developing into a sustainable, friendlier place. This year’s list has filled him with optimism and a renewed faith in humanity, according to the Ethical Traveler