Ethical Traveler is an all-volunteer non-profit organisation founded to “empower travellers to change the world.” They seek to use the economic clout of tourism to protect human rights and the environment. Ethical Traveler is a project of the Earth Island Institute, based in San Francisco. They maintain their own staff and a Board of Advisors possessing a broad range of expertise in the fields of travel, environment, economy, health and world policy.
Until the year of 2021, the survey took into consideration four general categories: environmental protection, social welfare, human rights, and animal welfare. Awards were given to 10 countries that showed the most significant improvement of the state of people, government and environment, and are offering unspoiled natural beauty, great outdoor activities, and the opportunity to interact with local people in a meaningful, mutually enriching way.
But the year 2020 and 2021 are different due to the effects of the world’s pandemic. This is also the reason why Ethical Traveler took a different approach in creating a list of 10, this year named “The Ten Best Post-Pandemic Ethical Destinations«. They took a closer look at some of the countries that have appeared on their winners’ list over the last five years. They investigated how they handled the pandemic and how this disease has impacted their travel and tourism industries. They also researched whether there were any positive initiatives and opportunities emerging from this crisis—strategies, for example, for making tourism more sustainable.
The 2021 list of The Ten Best Post-Pandemic Ethical Destinations includes:
- Cabo Verde
- Costa Rica
- The Gambia
In the Gambia, COVID-19 left many negative consequences, especially in the field of the tourism industry, which is providing a source of income to almost one-fifth of the country’s population. Ethical Traveler recognises The Gambia as a country with considerable ethical destination potential since it offers unspoiled nature, many animal species and animal rehabilitation projects. The improvement seen in the country is in the shift of the tourism type promotion, which is changing from all-inclusive short season oriented to all-year-round tourism, concentrating on the sustainable development through promoting rich natural and cultural heritage, bringing tourism also to the rural areas.