Posted in Press Releases

Top 10: Group Names World’s Best Ethical Destinations for 2013

Nonprofit Ethical Traveler releases annual survey of the developing world's top countries for tourism, based on environmental and human rights performance


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

(Visited 355 times, 1 visits today)

For Immediate Release

BERKELEY, USA, December 2012

On International Human Rights Day, Ethical Traveler released its annual survey of the world’s most ethical tourism destinations. The list highlights 10 countries – all in the developing world ñ that combine best practices with superb scenic and cultural attractions. The winning destinations have all demonstrated a clear and continuing commitment to environmental protection, human rights and social welfare.

This year’s 2013 top ethical destinations, in alphabetical order, are:

  • Barbados
  • Cape Verde
  • Costa Rica
  • Ghana
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Mauritius
  • Palau
  • Samoa
  • Uruguay

We congratulate this year’s winners. They’re doing a great job showing the world that you can have a successful tourism industry along with sustainability and social justice,” said Ethical Traveler Executive Director Jeff Greenwald. “With the number of international arrivals expected to top the 1 billion mark in 2013, travelers have more power than ever. Every dollar we spend is a statement about which countries and governments we choose to support. By visiting the countries on our list, savvy travelers can have great vacations and promote the values we all share.”

Using publicly available data, potential destinations were evaluated on a broad spectrum of criteria—including ecosystem support, natural and cultural attractions, political rights, press freedom, women’s equality, commitment to LGBT rights, and— the survey’s newest indicator— terrestrial and marine area protection.

“It’s incredibly encouraging to see the strides this year’s top ethical destinations are making in the areas of social and ecological wellness,” said report co-author Natalie Lefevre. “And, as always, we hope this honor will inspire them to continue their good work, and fix the places that need fixing.”

Report co-author Christy Hoover offers three examples of best practices: “Ghana maintains a high degree of freedom of the press, has a stable democracy which just re-elected a pro-environment President; about 15 percent of its territory is environmentally protected in some form. Latvia is well-rated for human rights and press freedom; it was also the most-improved country on the Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC) Environmental Performance Index (EPI). In Uruguay, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights and women’s rights are among the best in the region.”

This year’s report also includes a section recognizing “Destinations of Interest” for the coming year. While not part of the 10 Best Ethical Destinations, Ethical Traveler encourages potential tourists to peer behind the “media curtain” and explore controversial countries—like Burma, Cuba and Namibia—that are in the midst of dramatic social changes.

The 2013 list and report on the winners were presented at a public event on December 10th, 2012 at San Francisco’s Commonwealth Club. To view the full 2013 Ethical Destinations report and accompanying photo gallery, please visit

(Visited 355 times, 1 visits today)

# # #

About Ethical Traveler: An all-volunteer, non-profit project of the Earth Island Institute, Ethical Traveler’s mission is to use the power of tourism to protect human rights and the environment. For more information, please visit

Note to Editors: Pre-cleared photos and interviews with report authors available on request.

(Visited 355 times, 1 visits today)

Read Ethical Traveler's Reprint Policy.