March 14th, 2014 (InsideCostaRica.com) The government of Costa Rica is describing as “outrageous” its exclusion from the 2014 list of The Developing World’s 10 Best Ethical Destinations, an annual ranking produced by California nonprofit, Ethical Traveler. Costa Rica had been included in the 2013 ranking.
Costa Rica slid backwards in key metrics such as environmental protection and human rights violations, according to Michael McColl, Ethical Traveler’s co-founder and director of communications.
McColl said that Costa Rica is a major hub for human trafficking and its government allows persecution of activists working against the illegal shark finning and sea turtle trades.
Ethical Traveler’s founder and executive director, Jeff Greenwald said the ranking allows travelers to “vote with their wings.”
Ethical Traveler has published its ranking since 2006, which aims to encourage responsible globetrotting and to be mindful of the impact of tourism dollars to one country over another.
Communications Minister, Carlos Roverssi and Juan Carlos Borbon, General Manager of the Costa Rican Tourism Institute (ICT) said Ethical Traveler’s claims were unfounded.
Roverssi described Ethical Traveler’s allegations as part of a “smear campaign” by “leftist groups” who want to damage the “good name of Costa Rica.”
Roverssi also added that some environmentalists such as Paul Watson have been responsible for damaging the country’s reputation, adding that Watson is considered a fugitive from justice by Costa Rica.
“If you have any doubts about what is being done in Costa Rica, come and look,” Roverssi said, adding that the country has made great efforts in combating shark finning and human trafficking.
Borbon, for his part, described the claims as “outrageous.”
Costa Rica was included in the top-10 ranking in 2011, 2012, and 2013.
Prior to those years, the country was excluded from the list for several years because World Vision considered the country a notorious destination for sexual predators.