I truly believe that sustainable and ethical travel is the future. Travel is exciting, inspiring and even life changing, but it should also have a positive impact on communities, the environment and the economies of the visited destinations.
Here’s a fact: around ten percent of the world’s population depends on travel-related jobs for their livelihood. This makes travel the largest industry and undoubtedly one of the most powerful economic engines over all. It directly influences how entire nations deal with their citizens, indigenous peoples, oceans, wildlife, rivers and forests.
This means that travelers have an enormous impact (and, in turn, responsibility). When you travel, you not only leave a trace at each place you visit, you also directly invest money in those places. Just by the simple act of picking out your destination in a mindful manner, you can bring about positive change.
Speaking of sustainable travel, here’s a small rule I swear by: whenever I visit a place, I try not to change it in any manner. In fact, I let that place change me. Isn’t that the true purpose of travel anyway? To open our eyes and our minds, to help us grow, to broaden our perspectives?
Each year, Ethical Traveler evaluates the policies and practices of many countries in the third world to select the ten countries that do the most impressive work of promoting human rights, protecting the environment and supporting social welfare. By visiting these countries, you are actually rewarding their beneficial work and supporting their sustainable practices through your economic input.
A small disclaimer: as Einstein realized long ago, everything is relative – and so is this list. In other words, no country is perfect, so do expect shortcomings (some more serious than others) everywhere.
However, each country in this alphabetically arranged list does sincerely make an attempt to do good. And with that, here’s presenting the ten most ethical destinations of the year:
So, what are you waiting for? Get those itineraries in order and start exploring… sustainably!