With a business volume surpassing those of oil exports, food
products and automobiles, the travel industry sends more than one
billion tourists around the world every year. The soaring growth of
tourism also has brought the advancement of ecotourism, showing that
consumers are becoming more concerned with the negative impact their
travel choices have on the environment.

There are numerous
destinations we've come to appreciate and love for their extraordinary
natural and historical wonders, including the unspoiled, serene beaches
of the Galapagos, Mayan ruins found on the Yucatan Peninsula
andchronicles of Rome's legendary Empire. By continuing to preserve
such fragile places, we can offer future travelers the authentic
experiences of the world's most priceless treasures.

are many ways you can become a green traveler - far beyond hiking into
the depths of the rainforest or camping in the Himalayas. In fact, it's
gotten so much easier to travel on a clean conscience. You don't need
to give up the comforts and conveniences you relish during any other
vacation. Think of a paradise with sandy white beaches and calm,
turquoisewaters. Visualize a vacation of self-indulgence in massages,
savory culinarytreats and boutique shopping.

Whether you
desire a peaceful getaway in the countryside, seek an exotic paradise
by ship or long for the big, bustling city, a green vacation can easily
become your dream vacation. With so many options for every traveler,
it's not hard to find something that's affordable and has everything
you value in a vacation - plus a few added benefits that make the trip
worth taking.

Traveling Green Can Enrich Your Enjoyment

There's no need to trade off the exciting experiences that make a
vacation in order to protect the destinations you value. You may find
that you'll be able to enjoy more of the beautiful sceneries, friendly
faces and unique activities as a result.

all seven continents, from the dazzling city nightlife to secluded
villages tucked away in quaint valleys and mountains, there are
hundreds of ways you can spend your green vacation. See how changing
the way you encounter new places can take your vacation memories beyond
the ordinary.

Travel by train instead ofplane. Not
only will you gain more scenic views along the way, but you'll also
escape the headaches of long security lines and lost luggage.
Destinations throughout Europe and Asia, for example, offer superior
rail travel that allows you to save money and conveniently explore
multiple countries and cities in one trip.

Opt for bus, rail and/or ferry transportation.
Save money and gain convenience in getting from place to place. In your
travels, you'll find several city buses built for tourists, which make
frequent stops at many popular shopping and dining districts, museums
and theaters.

In the recent years, more transportation
systems are actively pursuing alternative resources in an effort to
preserve the earth. Numerous bus systems fueled by natural gas,
hydrogen or biodiesel are rapidly becoming a part of everyday life.
Europe recently revealed plans for the very first hybrid high-speed
train, which was originally engineered in Japan and claimed to cut
emission levels by 50 percent.

Discover new places by foot.
Several of the world's most enchanting sights are set off from main
roads, hidden in remote valleys, at the base of a glorious waterfall or
in other places only accessible by foot. Take advantage of many
unforgettable ways you can capture amazing panoramic views and up-close
experiences through hiking, bikingor canoeing to unique attractions.

eco-friendlyConsider renting an eco-friendly car.
If you need a vehicle for taking day excursions far from your hotel,
think about using a car-sharing program like Flexcar or Zipcar, which
offers eco-friendly cars with low fees and convenient pick-up and
drop-off options. You can also reduce car emissions by renting a hybrid
car or the smallest car that can comfortably accommodate you.

It Pays to Be an Educated Consumer

It goes without saying that the best kind of traveler is a prepared
one. Just in the past decade, there have been many more travel options
made available for responsible tourists, offering bigger ways for
individuals to make an impact for the good for the environment.

Use environmentally responsible services. Hundreds
of hotels have a linen reuse program, recycling bins for guest use,
energy-efficient lighting, low-flow toilets and showers and alternative
energy sources. Restaurants, tour operators, car rentals and other
travel service providers are also finding new ways to keep up with
travelers going green.

In addition to the U.S. Green
Building Council, organizations like AAA, GreenSeal and Sustainable
Travel International have launched green certification programs. States
have followed suit in creating rating systems or minimum standards
designed to help move businesses towards greener practices. Certified
businesses frequently display their green stickers (the Green Building
Council's LEED certification is the most widely recognized), making it
easy for responsible tourists to spot them.

Get the facts on reducing carbone missions.

major airlines are taking action to reduce their impact on the
environment. You may notice that some have switched over to electronic
ticketing, cutting down on paper consumption and waste. Now leisure and
business travelers are investing in carbon offsettingprograms. This
option allows you to calculate how much Co2 your vacation will produce
and purchase credits from emission reduction projects (such as solar
andwind). Plan to research the airline or nonprofit organization and
its alternate energy projects before you invest any money.

To learn more about purchasing carbon offsets, visit the followinglinks:

Eco-ConsciousTravel: How to Keep Flying and Stay Green (New York Times)

Offsetand Away: This Holiday Season, Fly and Breathe Free (San FranciscoGate)

Looking for a Green Travel Agent? With numerous opportunities for responsible travel, all it takes is one step: use an ASTA travel agent.
In its continued commitment to responsible tourism, ASTA has
implemented a Green Program that certifies worldwide travel agents and
suppliers offering green services. In addition to efficiently managing
all of your travel arrangements, ASTA agents are always up to date on
the latest green trends and have an expansive network of
environmentally responsible suppliers.

They can help you
travel green without downsizing the quality of your vacation
experience. They also provide you with vital information you need on
the trip, such as your hotel's environmental program, attractions you
can discover by foot and convenient transportation choices. An ASTA
travel agent will ensure that you won't have to take risks in finding
the green vacation that satisfies both your personal interests and
desire to contribute to the welfare of the natural world. Be sure to
look out for the ASTA Green Member logo, letting you know that the
company is a qualified green business you can trust for your individual
travel needs.