I want to mention today two awards that cover areas quite close to this blogger’s heart: responsible tourism and the ethical traveler.
The Responsible Tourism Awards 2008 have several categories that include an absolute winner (New Zealand), best touroperator (Explore; I have fond memories of two trips to Cuba and Guatemala & Honduras with them). Brazil gets a highly recommended mention under the best conservation of endangered species or protected area category, which goes to the Refúgio Ecológico Caiman, in the Pantanal. I have only heard words of praise about them.
Brazil does not feature among the The Developing World’s Ten Best Ethical Destinations for 2008. The list includes a series of Latin American countries (Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Costa Rica y Nicaragua). For a better understanding of the complex criteria behind the definition of “ethical travel” had a look at Ethical Traveler‘s website.
The nearly complete absence of Brazil in these awards is a slap in the face to claims repeatedly made by the Brazilian Ministry of Tourism in the sense that the authorities would have placed Brazil in recent years among the top destinations when it comes to eco-tourism and sustainable travel. Although there is a bunch of operators and organizations working in earnest to promote the concept of sustainable tourism, the reality of the vast majority of the tourism industry is quite scary.