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Ghana listed in world’s top ten ethical tourism destinations 2013

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Elephants at the Mole Park in Ghana

Ghana is among the world’s top ten ethical tourism destinations for the year 2013 in a list released December 11, 2012 by Ethical Traveler, a US-California based nonprofit advocacy group.

The group releases the annual survey of the developing world’s top countries for tourism, based on environmental and human rights performance.

Ghana, Cape Verde and Mauritius were the only African countries included on the list. The remaining seven countries were Barbados, Costa Rica, Latvia, Lithuania, Palau and Samoa.

Using publicly available data, Ethical Traveler said the ten countries “were evaluated on a broad spectrum of criteria—including ecosystem support, natural and cultural attractions, political rights, press freedom, women’s equality, commitment to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights, and— the survey’s newest indicator— terrestrial and marine area protection.”

According to the group, the winning destinations have all demonstrated a clear and continuing commitment to environmental protection, human rights and social welfare.

“We congratulate this year’s winners. They’re doing a great job showing the world that you can have a successful tourism industry along with sustainability and social justice,” Ethical Traveler Executive Director Jeff Greenwald said in a press statement.

“By visiting the countries on our list, savvy travelers can have great vacations and promote the values we all share,” Greenwald added.

On Ghana, Ethical Traveler praised country’s pioneering ecotourism work, as well as efforts to enforce taxes on things with a negative environmental impact, such as single-use plastic packaging. Trekking and birdwatching in the country’s national parks are a big draw, it indicated.

A co-author of the list Christy Hoover said “Ghana maintains a high degree of freedom of the press, has a stable democracy which just re-elected a pro-environment President; about 15% of its territory is environmentally protected in some form.”

In a related development, UK-based Wildlife News has included Ghana’s Kakum National Park in their top ten wildlife holiday hotspots for 2013 released December 23, 2012. The news outlet told its readers that “there are lots of reasons to consider Kakum National Park in Ghana when thinking about your African safari holiday.”

It continues “This lush sub-tropical forest has many species of mammals, birds and reptiles. But the two outstanding features of this park is the sheer number of species of butterflies and moth – over 200 – and an incredible canopy walkway system which runs for over 1,000 feet that lets you explore the tree-tops of this rich and diverse habitat.”

Ghana’s Beyin Beach in early December 2012 was listed among CNN’s best 25 African beaches. The beach placed 18th in the list which the cable TV released. The Sharm el-Sheikh beach in Egypt was number one on the list.

“It’s a classic African working beach, and you can expect to watch about 100 men pulling in enormous seine nets filled with fish,” CNN said about the Beyin beach located in the Western Region not too far away from the popular Nzulezo village which has wooden houses built on water.

Also in October 2011, Ghana was listed as one of the top ten countries in the world to visit in the year 2012, according to Frommer’s, one of America’s bestselling travel guide covering over 3,500 destinations. Ghana was ahead of London’s Greenwich neighbourhood, Girona in Spain and Bay of Fundyin Nova Scotia.

In 2011, international tourism generated $1.2 trillion in export earnings, according to the UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO). In 2012, the world recorded one billion tourists.

By Ekow Quandzie

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