Ethical Traveler congratulates the countries on our 2015 list of The World’s 10 Best Ethical Destinations. The winners, in alphabetical order (not in order of merit), are:
- Cabo Verde *
- Chile *
- Dominica *
- Lithuania *
- Mauritius *
- Palau *
- Uruguay *
- There was a time, not long ago, when we traveled more or less in a bubble. Long-distance travelers could be gone for weeks or months and have little or no contact with family or friends. Today, we’re able to stay connected to our communities as often as we wish. But this can be distracting—because the real connection offered by travel is with the unknown. Every journey is a series of surprises, no matter how carefully we plan our trips. We encounter people who enrich our lives and inspire our dreams, and face the human condition in ways unimaginable to us when we set off. The impact created by our travels ripples outward—expanding not only our own circle, but the lives of the people whose worlds we enter.
Travel is now the world’s largest industry, with a trillion-dollar annual footprint. This means that travelers have enormous power. Where we choose to put our footprints has economic and political reverberations that reach far beyond our personal experience. Ethical Traveler believes that mindful travel offers many rewards, both personal and global. By “voting with our wings”—choosing our destinations well, and cultivating our roles as citizen diplomats—we promote international goodwill and help change the world for the better.
Every year, Ethical Traveler reviews the policies and practices of scores of nations in the developing world. We then select the 10 that are doing the most impressive job of promoting human rights, preserving the environment and supporting social welfare—all while creating a lively, community-based tourism industry. By visiting these countries, we can use our economic leverage to reward good works and support best practices.
We urge you to explore these destinations, and to enjoy the wonderful sights, scenic and cultural, that they have to offer.
Though we are diligent in creating this list, we must continually remind ourselves: No country is perfect. All have genuine and often serious shortcomings. Each of our winners, however, is making a genuine effort to “do the right thing” in the many areas we take into consideration. We sincerely hope that inclusion on this list will motivate them to continue and improve upon their good work.
Ethical Traveler is an all-volunteer, non-profit organization and a project of the Earth Island Institute. No money or donations of any kind are solicited or accepted from any nations, governments, travel bureaus or individuals in the creation of our annual list.