Posted in Press Releases

2016 Ethical Destinations Awards: Winners Announced

Five new countries are honored for treating their people and environments well


Michael McColl
Director of Communications
Ethical Traveler
+1 (510) 451 0267

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For Immediate Release

(BERKELEY, USA ― January 2016) What do Grenada, Micronesia, Mongolia, Panama, and Tuvalu have in common? All five countries are making impressive strides to conserve natural resources, support human rights and protect animals. They are also first-time winners of the annual Ethical Destinations Awards.

For 2016, these winners join five winners also recognized by Ethical Traveler in previous years.

Each year, California-based Ethical Traveler researches and publishes a list of the 10 most forward-thinking countries in the developing world. Each country is reviewed for its performance in the areas of human rights, social welfare, animal welfare and environmental protection. That’s not all; a winning country also must have plenty of appeal as a travel destination.

By spending travel dollars in forward-thinking countries, explorers can reward the good guys―and encourage humane practices worldwide.

The 2016 winners, in alphabetical order (NOT in order of merit) are:

  • Cabo Verde
  • Dominica
  • Grenada
  • Micronesia (Federated States)
  • Mongolia
  • Panama
  • Samoa
  • Tonga
  • Tuvalu
  • Uruguay

There are seven island nations on the 2016 list, marking a continuing trend in the winners’ circle. Climate change affects islands dramatically, so island nations tend to put extra effort toward effective environmental policies. Panama, Mongolia and Uruguay are also significant to the 2016 list, as they are the only mainland winners. Mongolia also stands out as the first developing mainland Asian country to qualify since the awards began.

Ethical Traveler is a project of the Berkeley-based Earth Island Institute. The goal of the Ethical Destinations Awards is to encourage developing nations to do the right thing, and to reward destinations where policies and actions protect human rights and the environment.

“While we acknowledge that no country is perfect,” says co-founder and travel author Jeff Greenwald, “we honor those that strive to build a better, more sustainable society. Their neighbors can learn and benefit from their example―and so can we.”

To read the full report, which contains much more detail than this press release, please visit

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Ethical Traveler is an all-volunteer, non-profit project of the Earth Island Institute. Our mission is to use the power of tourism to protect human rights and the environment. No money or contributions are solicited or accepted in the preparing of our annual report. For more information, please visit

Note: Interviews with Executive Director Jeff Greenwald and other members of Ethical Traveler are available upon request. For your convenience, a gallery of pre-cleared images (CC-licensed or royalty free for editorial use) for 2016 can be found at

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