Young, idealistic and energetic types - ex-backpackers most of them, are driving a rapidly expanding and increasingly fashionable global ecotourism industry. New environmentally and ethically aware hotels, travel agents, tour operators, campsites and websites are opening up. Seasoned travellers are starting to talk seriously about "offsetting" their carbon dioxide emissions when they fly, or taking the train or a car instead of mindlessly jetting off to weekend destinations.

We're not just talking mature hippies here, either. Let's face it, you know a trend is starting to percolate into the zeitgeist when Jonathan Porritt turns up on The Late Edition, Jude Law spends Christmas on a private island in an Indian Ocean nature reserve, Prius-driving Cameron Diaz explores Belize - she stayed at Chaa Creek jungle lodge, by the way, where she happened to bump into Craig Doyle who was filming for BBC's Holiday show - and the travel editor at Vanity Fair starts making references to the current vogue being "all about soft adventure and eco travel".

"This year you'll be getting in training for your holidays," wrote Vanity Fair's Victoria Mather recently. "It's not enough to simply go on a luxury beach holiday - we've all done that already. Instead, this year we'll be white-water rafting on the Ganges, trekking for eight hours to see gorillas in Rwanda and walking in Luangwa with Robin Pope." Blimey.

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