All of us are part of a social revolution that is transforming the planet. Environmental and human rights movements in places like Asia, the Middle East and Latin America now hinge on our ability to communicate—in real time—with allies all over the world.
But as we navigate the global village on our tablets and smart phones, let’s not forget the power of actual, physical travel. The ability to travel swiftly and safely between lands and cultures is almost as recent a development as social networking, and as crucial a tool for positive change.
Travel is one of the world’s largest industries. Where we go—where we spend our travel dollars—has real economic and political significance. Ethical Traveler believes that mindful travel can bring many benefits, both personal and global. By choosing our destinations well and remembering our roles as citizen diplomats, we can create international goodwill and help change the world for the better.
Every year, Ethical Traveler reviews the policies and practices of hundreds of nations in the developing world
We then select the ten that are doing the most impressive job of promoting human rights, preserving their environment, and upholding civil society—all while creating a sustainable, community-based tourism industry. By visiting these countries, we can use our economic power to support best practices.
We urge you to visit these destinations, and explore the wonderful sights, cultures and activities they offer.
Though our best efforts go into creating this list, we must continually remind ourselves: No country is perfect. All have their shortcomings. Each of our winners, however, had made a genuine effort to “do the right thing” in the many areas that we take into consideration.
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.
Ethical Traveler congratulates the countries on our 2013 list of The World’s 10 Best Ethical Destinations. The winners, in alphabetical order (not in order of merit), are:
Costa Rica *
( * = also appeared on our 2012 list).