The Earth Island Institute has published its 2010 Ethical Destinations Report at ethicaltraveler.org, shedding some light on the developing countries that have demonstrated the strongest commitment to environmental protection, social welfare and human rights. The report is a serious research effort to promote ethical travel: gaining an awareness of our impact and responsibilities as we explore the world. By all accounts it’s worth the trip. According to the authors, the countries cited represent “opportunities to experience nature at its most pristine, and to interact with local people and cultures in a meaningful, mutually enlightening way.”

The authors have mined some of the best published data available to come up with this year’s Top Ten (see chart below). It’s interesting to find four South American countries, four African countries and two eastern European countries. Developing Asian nations did not make the list because of irresponsible development policies, human rights abuses and weak environmental policies. The comments we included in the chart are research findings measured against all countries of the world. These achievements are particularly impressive for nations without a long history of democracy. Though fledglings, these countries are ready to take flight as destinations for responsible travelers.

A handful of countries fell out of last year’s Top Ten: Costa Rica, Bolivia and Bulgaria have a growing reputation for child trafficking, and Nicaragua’s human rights record took a major step backward.

Do you have first-hand experience as an ethical traveler? The Healthy Travel Blog would like you contribute to this conversation.

Ethical destinations chart

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About The Author

Michael Hartung, editor of Healthy Travel Blog, serves as head of Product Development at HTH Worldwide. Mike is responsible for all product strategy and development for the company. Mike has over twenty years of successful product innovation to his credit. He has played a senior management role in three start-up companies and has built complex organizations in rapid growth environments. Prior to joining HTH in 2000, he served as President of U.S. Healthcare’s Workers Comp Advantage subsidiary, which he co-founded with Angelo Masciantonio. Mike has also served in senior roles at Aon Consulting, Vantage Health Partners and Managed Health Care Services. Mike earned an M.B.A. from New York University, an M.A. from Duke University and a B.A. from Carleton College.

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