HTB makes a point of keeping up with the annual selections of www.ethicaltraveler.org to highlight countries leading the way in environmental protection, social welfare and human rights. Their latest list has seven holdovers from 2011—Argentina, Chile, Costa Rica, Dominica, Latvia, Palau and Uruguay — and a diverse group of three newcomers: Serbia, Mauritius and The Bahamas.
Serbia scored high for its commitment to hydropower and the creation of a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve along the Mura, Drava and Danube rivers, which includes the Studenica Monastery, a cultural World Heritage site.
Mauritius has the second best air quality in the world, according to the World Health Organization (Estonia is first) and tops the charts for its record in fighting human trafficking.
The Bahamas banned shark fishing and received the highest possible scores for social welfare and civil liberties.
As the editors note, there is a rising tide of ethical activism expressed in and encouraged by the social media, and travel is a powerful contributor. Looking ahead, keep an eye on two countries on the cusp of breakthroughs in human rights: Myanmar and Cuba.