Ghana has again emerged as one of the top travel destinations in the world according to a research by Ethical Traveler, a US-based non-profit organization that uses tourism to promote economic growth among developing countries.
Barely three weeks after the New York Times had adjudged Accra as the fourth best city to tour in 2013, the country made it to the Ethical Traveler’s 2013 list of The World’s Best Ethical Destinations which contained countries such as Barbados, Latvia, Mauritius, Cape and Verde Islands.
The other countries that made the list include Lithuania, Uruguay, Palau, Samoa and Costa Rica.
Every year, Ethical Traveler reviews the policies and practices of hundreds of nations in the developing world and then selects Ten, 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.
How the List is Created
Every year Ethical Traveler conducts a study of developing nations, from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, to identify the world’s best travel and tourism destinations.
They begin their research by focusing on three general categories: Environmental Protection, Social Welfare and Human Rights. For each of these categories, it analyzes information past and present to understand not only the current state of a country, but how it has changed over time. This helps in selecting countries that are actively improving the state of their people, government and environment.
The first phase of the process include assessing the country’s scores from a variety of databases related to one of the three categories, using information from sources like Freedom House, the Millennium Challenge Corporation, and the World Bank.
After the top performers are identified, a detailed case research, focusing on actions governments have taken over the years to improve (or in some cases, weaken) practices and circumstances in the countries are also conducted.
According to the organisation, “There is more to making our list, of course, than excelling in these categories. Each country selected as a Best Ethical Destination also offers the opportunity to experience unspoiled natural beauty, and to interact with local people and cultures in a meaningful, mutually enriching way”.
The report lauded Ghana’s democratic credentials saying after President Mills died last year, Ghana went through a peaceful transition of power, which is not a given on the African continent. Also President Mahama is regarded as a champion of the underprivileged, with a keen interest in environmental issues.
“Several countries that made our short list were excluded from the Top 10 specifically because of homophobic laws. While Ethical Traveler is not a gay rights organization, we believe in civil liberties for all—regardless of race, religion, gender, age or sexual orientation.
"Although three of our winners (Barbados, Ghana and Mauritius) do have anti-gay statutes on the books, these laws are laxly enforced. In Ghana, however—a country with an otherwise impressive social and environmental record— active discrimination does take place. We include Ghana on this year’s list hoping that this spotlight, along with our vote of confidence, will inspire reform”, the report concluded.