Two-thirds of Americans say eco-friendly travel is important

This story has got good intentions written all over it.

The travel site Orbitz used Zoomerang to conduct a poll of American's ideas about eco-friendly travel. It probably won't be a surprise the a lot of Americans think going green is great for a vacation.

The survey found that over two-thirds (67%) of Americans placed "importance on the eco-friendliness of a destination." That's awful vague, but there were more details among the highlights:
  • "More than half (65%) state it would somewhat impact their decision to stay at a hotel if they knew the hotel was using solar or wind energy to supplement the powering of the building.
  • A strong majority (63%) state they would pay a little more to rent a hybrid vehicle or stay at a "green" hotel.
  • More than half (52%) of Americans state they would be willing to donate a small portion of their vacation budget to help save the environment when booking a trip."
So, that's what people tell pollsters. There are plenty of green options out there for vacationers, so it's going to be really easy to see if these people vote with their dollars in the years to come. If you're headed for a trip soon, may I recommend...
There's more from Orbitz, including their eco "Insider Picks" after the jump.

[Source: Orbitz]
Orbitz Survey: 67% of Americans Stress Importance of Eco-friendly Travel

U.S. Tourism Industry Not Environmentally Friendly, According to 51% of Travelers

CHICAGO, April 11 /PRNewswire/ -- With over two-thirds* (67%) of Americans placing importance on the eco-friendliness of a destination, this market segment has a growing future ahead of it. ( is taking time out of this spring to review just how much Americans consider the environment in their travels.

Travelers are reassessing how they travel, where they stay and the impact they leave behind when on vacation, according to the Orbitz survey.

Conducted by MarketTool's Zoomerang's polling service, the Orbitz survey highlights that:

-- More than half (65%) state it would somewhat impact their decision to stay at a hotel if they knew the hotel was using solar or wind energy to supplement the powering of the building.
-- A strong majority (63%) state they would pay a little more to rent a hybrid vehicle or stay at a "green" hotel.
-- More than half (52%) of Americans state they would be willing to donate a small portion of their vacation budget to help save the environment when booking a trip.

Although great strides have been made regarding eco-travel awareness, it is clear that many Americans feel that destinations in the United States could be doing a better job when it comes to working to preserve Mother Nature. More than half (51%) of Americans surveyed feel the tourism industry in the United States is not environmentally friendly.

"As a responsible global business within the tourism industry, Orbitz is working to provide its customers with more eco-friendly travel information and choices," said Heather Leisman, senior director of merchandising for Orbitz. "Orbitz encourages our customers increase their awareness and consideration of the planet -- whether sea kayaking in Alaska or cleaning up a beach in Key West."

*MarketTool's Zommerang Methodology

The Orbitz poll was conducted online using MarketTool's Zommerang panel of 320 adults ages 19-65, who are regular travelers. Zommerang is a market research service, owned by MarketTool, that directly manages a nationally-representative online panel of more than 2.5 million individuals, with a global network extending to more than 8 million consumers worldwide.

Orbitz Staff Insider Picks

As summer vacation preparation heats up, the travel experts at Orbitz have profiled beautiful destinations that support the preservation of the environment. A trip to any one of these locations provides opportunities to help maintain the health and well-being of natural locations that belong to everyone.

Zion, Utah

Zion National Park is a landscape that truly allows visitors to escape the modern world. Featuring soaring cliffs, a labyrinth of canyons and breathtaking waterfalls, travelers will delight in the variety of awe-inspiring landscapes in this 229 square mile park. One of the most unique experiences travelers can take part in while visiting Zion is hiking the "narrows." Snaking its way through the park, the Virgin River has carved a narrow 16 mile long path through the upper region of Zion canyon. Although it is beautiful, it can also be dangerous as much of the hike is spent walking or swimming through water. For travelers seeking a calmer way to enjoy Zion, visitors can explore the landscape by horseback. Providing travelers with a fun, "Wild West" way to see the park, horseback riding excursions can be taken for as little as one hour or as long as multiple days. In an effort to conserve this increasingly popular park, Zion has implemented a mandatory shuttle bus system, reducing air and noise pollution from heavy traffic during peak visiting season.

Rocky Mountains, Colorado

Whether you're simply looking to stay at an eco-friendly resort or want to get in on the eco-friendly action by participating in environmental activities such as trail clean-up and conversation education, the majestic Rocky Mountains is the place to go this summer. As the ski season nears its end and the snow begins to melt, opportunities for involvement become plentiful. More and more resorts in this mountain region are becoming actively involved in eco-tourism as well. Vail Resorts, which operates the mountain resorts of Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and Keystone in Colorado, Heavenly in California and Nevada, and the Grand Teton Lodge Company in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, is 100% powered by wind. And the company has recently announced the development of "Ever Vail", the soon-to-be largest "green" resort village in North America. Ever Vail will be designed and built incorporating the highest quality materials and finishes and the latest in green building techniques. This summer, The Lodge at Vail along with other Vail Resorts properties will be offer special eco-friendly packages that incorporate environmental volunteer opportunities, making it easy for travelers to get involved, whether for a few hours or a few days.

St. John, U.S.V.I.

For those who love the environment, but would also like some time at the beach, look no further than St. John. At only 28 acres, the smallest of the U.S. Virgin Islands, two-thirds of the island is a U.S. National Park, allowing visitors the opportunity to experience forested beauty, as well as beautiful beaches. Because of this unique atmosphere, plenty awaits the eco-tourist. Local companies offer tours that include hiking, kayaking and more, all while educating visitors on local flora and fauna. Visitors to the island should be sure to bring their snorkeling gear as the island features beautiful, nationally protected, coral reefs teeming with sea life. For travelers looking to spend time helping the environment, contact the Friends of V.I. National Park, who organize weekly park clean-ups. After a long day of exploration and helping to maintain this scenic paradise, take time to relax by visiting one of St. John's many beaches with a chair, a good book and the sunset.


Seeking to reconnect with Mother Nature? If so, Alaska's 365 million acres supply endless opportunities to explore, discover and commune with the wild. Two extremely popular Alaska activities include visiting Mount McKinley and sea kayaking. Mount McKinley, the tallest mountain in North America, is a breathtaking site to behold. Exploring the mountain and its surrounding area, Denali National Park, can be done via horseback or foot for the most minimal impact to the environment. If investigating this area by foot is your preferred way to travel, be aware, Denali Park has almost no trails, most hiking is cross-country. Moving towards the coastline, sea kayaking or boating in Alaska is a spectacular experience not to be missed. This environmentally low-impact activity gets travelers up-close and personal with beautiful icebergs and wildlife. Some of the best places to visit in Alaska for sea kayaking include Kachemak Bay State Park, Kenai Fjords National Park, Glacier Bay National Park and Prince William Sound.

Yosemite National Park, California

With giant sequoias, towering granite cliffs and impressive waterfalls, Yosemite National Park is simply spectacular! Although there are plenty of activities within Yosemite, one of the best is taking in the magnificent views of Yosemite Valley, representing only one percent of the park area. To avoid the crowds that descend upon the valley in the summer, go for a hike. One of the best trails in the park takes visitors to Cloud's Rest. From Tenaya Lake, this is a 14 mile round-trip hike that provides awe-inspiring views of Yosemite. Those left with a bit more energy can head to the Mariposa Grove, home to giant sequoia trees which can be 150-280 feet tall. In an effort to conserve and protect this great environment, Yosemite implemented the use of 18 hybrid electric buses in 2005. These buses produce fewer carbon monoxide and hydrocarbon emissions compared to the park's older buses.

Clayoquot Sound/Tofino, Vancouver Island, Canada

Only covering about 0.2 percent of the Earth's land surface, the type of ancient coastal temperate rainforest found around the Clayoquot Sound is truly special. Including rivers, lakes, a rainforest, marine areas and beaches, a visit to Clayoquot Sound provides the opportunity to explore a rare type of forest. For a unique perspective of this landscape, take to the sea by boat or kayak. Paddling the waters around Clayoquot Sound, travelers can discover hidden lagoons and isolated sand beaches. Run-ins with local marine animals such as seals, porpoises, Grey whales and otters are often a regular occurrence. If staying dry is more your style, explore Clayoquot Sound via one of many hiking trails. Two popular trials are the Wild Pacific Trail and the Hot Springs Trail. The Wild Pacific Trail runs along the ocean and through the rainforest and the Hot Springs Trail features a boardwalk path through the rainforest, providing access to natural springs. In order to help protect this area, in 2000 it was named by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) as a World Biosphere Reserve. Biosphere Reserves work to support and display a balanced relationship between humans and the environment.

Costa Rica

Extending from the Pacific Ocean to the Caribbean Sea, Costa Rica is an exuberant country where nature fully manifests itself thanks to the magnificent biodiversity of its territory. Known to many as the birthplace of ecotourism, Costa Rica has 20 natural parks, eight biological reserves and a series of protected areas that captivate eco-tourists with one of the world's most abundant manifestations of flora and fauna. Though Costa Rica covers roughly 0.3 percent of the surface of the Earth, approximately five percent of the world's animal and plant species are found there. From horseback riding through deep forests or on pristine beaches, to rafting or kayaking in white water rivers, Costa Rica offers a variety of eco-friendly activities for the traveler that is looking to bond deeply with nature. The variety of landscapes and microclimates that can be enjoyed in one single day make Costa Rica a paradisiacal destination filled with sun, beaches, nature, adventure and culture.

Glacier National Park, Montana

Encompassing some 1.4 million acres of splendid wilderness, containing two majestic mountain ranges, several glacial valleys, over 130 named lakes, more than 1,000 species of plants and hundreds of animals, Glacier National Park in Montana is recognized as the "crown of the continent ecosystem." Breathtaking views of peaks, glaciers, lakes, forests and waterfalls abound, and the park offers hundreds of trails for hikers and backpackers looking to find that perfect spot along the Rocky Mountains -- over 700 miles of trail provide fantastic opportunities for both short hikes and extended backpacking trips. A wide variety of camping options are also available. Starting in July 2007, visitors will be able to access many popular destinations along the Going-to-the-Sun road by riding on the park's environmentally-friendly, bio-diesel powered shuttle buses. The Going-to-the-Sun road is the main parkway through the heart of the park, spanning over 50 miles, and offering a great way to explore one of the world's finest scenic drives.

About Orbitz:

Orbitz ( is a leading online travel company that enables travelers to search for and purchase a broad array of travel products, including airline tickets, lodging, rental cars, cruises and vacation packages. Since launching its website to the general public in June 2001, Orbitz has become the third largest online travel site based on gross travel bookings. On Orbitz, consumers can search more than 400 airlines, more than 65,000 lodging properties worldwide and 13 car rental companies. Orbitz is a Travelport brand. Travelport ( is one of the largest and most geographically diverse travel companies, dedicated to creating the exceptional travel experiences the world demands.

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