Top 10 ethical destinations in the developing world

6 January 12

| Green Travel News |

Every year, Ethical Traveler reviews the policies and practices of the world’s developing nations, then selects the ten that are doing the best job of preserving their environment, promoting human rights and creating a sustainable, community-based tourism industry. By visiting these destinations, we use our economic power—our travel dollars—to support these countries.

Riga, Latvia

Ethical Destination: Riga, Latvia

In alphabetical order, the 2012 list:

The Bahamas
Costa Rica

How were these countries chosen? A research team first identifies the “best” tourism destinations, from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe. Next, using publicly available data, these countries are rated. (For more on the methodology, download the full report.) As Ethical Traveler researcher Natalie Lefevre points out, “None of these countries are perfect, but they deserve their spots—thanks to their effort to ensure that tourism has a positive impact on their country and their people.”

Ethical Traveler notes some surprises in 2012. According to executive director Jeff Greenwald, “The steady trend we’re seeing toward green practices and support for sustainable tourism—by governments and travelers alike—is a fantastic development, and shows a real coming-of-age in the international tourism community.”

New on the list for 2012 were Serbia, Mauritius and the Bahamas.

Greenwald also adds a sad footnote: “One thing that was interesting this year—and unfortunate—was that some otherwise excellent countries in Latin America and Africa didn’t make the list because of their draconian anti-gay laws.”

Ethical Traveler, based in Berkeley, Calif., is an all-volunteer, non-profit project of the Earth Island Institute.

  • Katie

    great article! we just posted a similar one about Ethical traveler

  • Reader

    Sorry Green Travel News, but there’s an error in your report. Palau was on the list last year, therefore it is not new. Go to and see the list for yourself. New to the list are the Bahamas, Mauritius and Serbia. Please make the necessary correction. Thank you.

Previous post:

Next post: