It's easy to see why some vacation spots are unethical. A region or country where locals live in squalor while visitors stay insulated in fancy hotels, for example, is not the ideal ethical travel destination. But some spots are harder to pin down, which is why Ethical Traveler released a list recently of its top 10 ethical travel destinations. The results, in alphabetical order:
These locations were chosen based on their track records in social welfare, environmental protection, and human rights. Some of the choices are debatable—South Africa has a glaringly obvious gap between rich and poor along with a high crime rate, but Ethical Traveler maintains that the country has many eco-friendly tourism ventures as well as sustainable coastal development. Fine, but is anyone going to pay attention this list in the first place?
As we mentioned in our Tourism 2023 post on the future of tourism, ethical vacations are likely to become increasingly important as economies tighten and climate change regulations are enforced. Unless we stay on target with carbon emissions goals—a prospect that looks increasingly dim as the Copenhagen climate change conference approaches—future travelers might be forced to choose travel destinations based on how well they have been protected socially and environmentally. So pay attention to the list above—it might just be the list of 2023's hottest vacation spots.