Thousands of grass roots, low impact, high sustainability initiatives all over the world struggle to tell tourists they exist. Very few of these inspirational initiatives have the resources or skills to market themselves in an industry dominated by multinational companies. Our Ethical Travel Guide is a challenge to this dominance, seeking to redress the balance in order to make tourism more fair. The Ethical Travel Guide is a chance for local communities in destination countries, who are often extremely poor, and dedicated local entrepreneurs to talk to their customers, to promote a more authentic and local experience which they are uniquely able to provide. While this unique Guide provides holidaymakers with fantastic ideas for authentic and guilt free holidays, it also raises vital awareness of the negative impacts of tourism. If you know of any organisation that you think should be listed please tell us
The purpose of the Ethical Travel Guide is to help travellers in making better decisions about where to go, who to go with, where to stay and what to do in accordance with principles of ethical tourism. For each country we list ethical travel considerations, local projects to support, community voices on the impacts of tourism, ethical places to stay and see and ethical tour operators and volunteering organisations that can help make your stay better for local people and better for you. The initiative intertwines two essential strands of how Tourism Concern works:
- We seek to give a voice to communities where tourism takes place, sharing their concerns and recommendations in order to encourage more equitable and sustainable tourism.
- We aim to help travellers to take responsibility for their impact by choosing ethical options for what to do and where to stay, and being responsible, sensitive and well-informed whilst travelling.
Ethical Travel Guide
Afghanistan, Bahrain, Bangladesh*, Bhutan*, Brunei, Burma (Myanmar)*, Cambodia, China*, East Timor*, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Japan*, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Korea North, Korea South, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan*, Laos, Lebanon, Malaysia*, Maldives, Mongolia*, Nepal, Oman, Pakistan*, Philippines, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Syria, Tajikistan, Thailand, Turkey, Turkmenistan, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Yemen.
Algeria, Angola, Benin, Botswana*, Burkina*, Burundi, Cameroon*, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Djibouti, Egypt*, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia*, Ghana*, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Lesotho*, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar*, Malawi*, Mali*, Mauritania, Mauritius, Morocco*, Mozambique*, Namibia*, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda*, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Seychelles*, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa*, South Sudan, Sudan, Swaziland*, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda*, Zambia*, Zimbabwe.
Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas*, Barbados, Belize, Canada, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominica*, Dominican Republic*, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala*, Haiti*, Honduras*, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua*, Panama*, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, United States.
Albania*, Andorra, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina*, Bulgaria*, Croatia*, Cyprus*, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland*, France, Georgia, Germany*, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy*, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malta, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro*, Netherlands, Norway, Poland*, Portugal, Romania*, Russian Federation, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia*, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Vatican City.
Click on a country highlighted above (countries with * are still under construction.)
Ethical Travel Guide – Listed Tourism Providers
Click on a tourism provider below to find their ethical tourism rating, contact details and location.
Applicants are asked to complete an on-line application and demonstrate how they meet each of the following criteria. We will make an assessment based on the answers given and score under each heading from 1 to 5 on how well they have demonstrated they meet each of the three strands of sustainability (social, economic and environmental). We will involve local NGOs and partners in country where appropriate to help with initial and ongoing assessments. All organisations will have to declare that they meet health and safety requirements and have equality policies. The visitor fulfilment will be determined via feedback from travellers. Only organisations we are comfortable listing will be included – no one can pay to get listed.
- To maintain and strengthen the quality of life in local communities, including social structures and access to resources, amenities and life support systems, avoiding any form of social degradation or exploitation.
- To engage and empower local communities in planning and decision making about the management and future development of tourism in their area, in consultation with other stakeholders.
- To respect and enhance the historic heritage, authentic culture, traditions, and distinctiveness of host communities
Local Prosperity and Social Equity
- To maximize the contribution of tourism to the economic prosperity of the host destination, including the proportion of visitor spending that is retained locally.
- To seek a widespread and fair distribution of economic and social benefits from tourism throughout the recipient community, including improving opportunities, income and services available to the poor.
- To strengthen the number and quality of local jobs created and supported by tourism, including the level of pay, conditions of service and availability to all without discrimination by gender, race, disability or in other ways.
- To maintain and enhance the quality of landscapes, both urban and rural, and avoid the physical and visual degradation of the environment.
- To support the conservation of natural areas, habitats, and wildlife, and minimize damage to them.
- Minimise use of scarce or non-renewable resources in the development of tourism facilities and to minimise pollution of air, water, land caused by the generation of waste by tourism enterprises and visitors.
- To provide a safe, satisfying and fulfilling experience for visitors, available to all without discrimination by gender, race, disability, or in other ways.
We appreciate that small scale operations will have limited resources and time so will need to balance the assessment process accordingly. There is more information in the FAQ. Please also read our disclaimer.