Palau Ranks In Top Ten ‘Ethical’ Travel Destination List

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Samoa, other island states high in ranking

By Aurea Gerundio-Dizon

KOROR, Palau (Island Times, Jan. 7, 2013) – For the third time, Palau is recognized as one of the World’s Ten Best Ethical Destinations by Ethical Traveler.

Ethical Traveler is an all-volunteer, non-profit organization from Berkeley, California. It reviews the policies and practices of hundreds of nations in the developing world every year. The organization then selects the 10 that are doing the most impressive job of promoting human rights, preserving their environment and upholding civil society – all while creating a sustainable, community-based tourism industry.

Since 2011, Palau has been chosen as one of the top 10 ethical destinations.

Joining Palau in the top 10 in 2013 are Barbados, Cape Verde, Costa Rica, Ghana, Latvia, Lithuania, Mauritius, Samoa and Uruguay.

In the Ethical Traveler’s website, the organization noted that island states (including Palau, Barbados, Cape Verde, Mauritius and Samoa) are again a strong presence in this year’s top 10 list. "These states understand that islands will be severely impacted by climate change, and are therefore taking the vanguard in progressive environmental policies," the organization said.

Ethical Traveler equally recognized Palau, Samoa and Maritius for putting strong emphasis on greening their economies and implementing sustainable development programs. The three countries have reportedly shown high regard for the environment and responsible tourism is being promoted.

Ethical Traveler said Latvia and Lithuania, along with Costa Rica and Uruguay, scored highest in environmental protections.

Cape Verde’s effort to reach 300 percent renewable energy is described to be a notable environmental success. Ethical Traveler disclosed that Cape Verde has increased its total installed renewable capacity by 751.14 percent, indicating a decisive movement toward sustainability and away from fossil fuels.

On human rights, Ethical Traveler said Palau, as well as Cape Verde, Costa Rica, Lithuania and Uruguay received the highest possible scores from Freedom House in the categories of Political Rights and Civil Liberties as well as high Press Freedom scores, even better that those of some developed countries.

Ethical Traveler said that no country, particularly those facing significant economic limitations is faultless. "Our goal is to encourage the behaviors we see as creating a safer and more sustainable world," the organization said.

Ethical Traveler’s sources of information include Freedom House, the Millennium Challenge Corporation, World Bank, Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC) Environmental Performance Index (EPI), UNICEF and the UN Development Program’s Human Development Report.

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