The World’s 10 Most Ethical Destinations

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As tourism becomes the world’s most productive industry, hoteliers and travel companies have started exploring how tourism and conservatism can coincide. Some of the world’s most luxurious vacation destinations have started to give back to their stunning environment. Ethicaltraveler.org recently released the developing world’s top ten Most Ethical destinations for 2008.

The 10 Best Ethical Destinations (in alphabetical order) are: Argentina, Bolivia, Bulgaria, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Estonia, Namibia, Nicaragua and South Africa.

Ethical Traveler is an organization devoted to informing travelers (“freelance ambassadors,” as it describes the average globetrotter) about their impact on the societies and environments visited each year. Although the organization views all travel as an insightful journey in expanding our global society and interest, it also emphasizes travel in developing countries to encourage their building economies and infrastructure.

The list was created as a result of examining the world’s developing nations within three main areas: Environmental Protection, Social Welfare and Human Rights. Costa Rica topped the overall list as the Best Ethical Destination.

Human rights records were derived from groups like Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and Reporters Without Borders. Argentina topped Reporters Without Borders’ lists with its established Freedom of the Press. Estonia, Chile and Costa Rica enjoy the highest ratings of civil liberties from Freedom House.

Croatia and Argentina were leading nations in the Environmental Protection category, which was based on a combination of research in the Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC) Environmental Performance Index and the SEDAC Environmental Sustainability Index. The indicators also credited Costa Rica with sustaining a “high level of overall environmental health, excellent water resources, biodiversity, air quality and sustainable energy.”

Social welfare was measured using research from UNICEF, Freedom House’s Freedom of the World 2007 Report and the 2006 Human Development Report from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Bolivia and South Africa had the lowest infant mortality rates, while citizens in high ranking Estonia and Bulgaria enjoy the greatest civil liberties. Namibia was a leader based on research from the UNDP, which measured sanitation, agriculture and safe drinking water access & management. Chile and Costa Rica were the leaders in overall social welfare scoring.

Although Ethical Traveler recognizes that none of these countries are free from problems and are far from perfect, the organization seeks to encourage continued development in these countries through the support of mindful travelers and overall global awareness.

(Source, photo source)



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