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How To Find Green Travel Operators

Whether you’re heading for an art-filled city or a wildlife-rich forest, you may not want to plan your entire green vacation yourself. To keep your trip eco-friendly, find a tour or travel business operator that’s as concerned as you are about the ethics and sustainability of travel. This may require a little more research on your part, but it will be worth it when you arrive at your destination and feel good about the impact of your trip.

When you’re looking for green travel operators or vacations, begin with organizations that have developed certification programs or earned recognition from them. Three great places to start include:

  • Green Globe offers a label based on the United Nation’s Agenda 21 sustainability principles. Green Globe provides certification under four sustainability standards and includes all tourism, whether it’s in cities or natural areas.

  • Sustainable Travel International is a Colorado-based organization that offers an Eco-Directory of businesses committed to sustainable travel. Many of these business also have qualified for certification programs.

  • The International Ecotourism Society offers a huge range of information about ecotourism, including a Travel Choice directory of members that have signed a code of conduct to follow responsible ecotourism guidelines.

The organizations in the preceding list can help you locate certified or recognized eco-friendly travel businesses. To feel confident that you’ve chosen ethical and sustainable travel operators (or perhaps to help you narrow down your list of possibilities), be prepared to ask a lot of questions, including the following:

  • Have you qualified under any kind of environmental certification program?

  • Do you have a written ethical policy for your business?

  • How are you reducing waste in your operation?

  • How are you conserving water and other natural resources, including power?

  • How are you minimizing damage to wildlife and marine environments?

  • Have your hotels or other accommodations been built in an environmentally friendly way?

  • What percentage of your staff is local, and do you use local guides? Are your wages fair?

  • Which local initiatives to protect or support culture or the environment do you support?

Make sure that you’re happy with the answers you receive. The individual efforts of companies may differ depending on the part of the world that they’re operating in, but you should feel comfortable that their ethical and sustainable initiatives are both genuine and effective.

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