Tomas Haupt - Aug 5, 2008

Tourism industry is the biggest and fastest growing sector of the world economy. An increasing number of tourists now realize that they have some kind of responsibility for their travels. It ranges from low carbon emissions travel to the support of poor natives. The popularity of ecologic or so called green tourism increases every year.


The Ethical Traveler reacts to this interest in responsible travel by issuing a report called “The Developing World"s Best Ethical Destinations.The report describes how environmentally responsible is a destination and it also informs about the human rights compliance. The Executive Director of Ethical Traveler, Jeff Greenwald, claims the report helps travelers to choose a country where they want to travel and so support the locals. A responsible traveler brings money to the “right” countries or to the countries that do not abuse human rights and preserve its environment.


The report identifies situation in three key areas – environmental protection, social welfare and human rights. The report should not reflect only the present situation and that is why it compares the present situation with the past. By doing so, it can identify the current trends and developments. Environment indicators include reducing environmental stresses on human health as well as promotion of ecosystem vitality and sound natural resource management. Among the best performing countries in this area was Costa Rica with high levels of environmental health. When judging the Social Welfare, the researchers were interested e.g. in infant mortality. Bolivia and South Africa had the lowest infant mortality rate from the surveyed countries. The researchers also measured the civil liberties in the surveyed countries. The last but not least area of interest for Ethical Traveler report was the area of Human Rights. Every surveyed country had some Human Rights issues but the report also indicated the improvements in this area over the years or degradation on the other hand.


Here is the list of the top ten countries according to the Developing World"s Best Ethical Destinations in alphabetic order:












Costa Rica








South Africa


  1. I am surprised Seychelles is not on this list as it is the country with the highest HDI Human Development Index in Africa. Has a great track record for enviromental protection, politically stable with a functioning democracy and one of the most racially integrated countries.

  2. Argentina with good practices in Human Rights? How come? A country that exterminated almost local people and very very hight racism !!! You don't know Argentina or we are talking about another contry...

  3. I was surprised to see South Africa on the List considering their government's support of Robert Mugabe. Disheartening. How were these places determined?


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