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Your ticket to green tourism

The first online guide to responsible international travel has been launched in Sussex.

Overseas tourism from the UK is worth £22 billion a year and travellers are increasingly keen to show respect for the places they visit.

The Responsible Travel web site provides information on holiday destinations around the globe alongside personal travelogues from high-profile supporters.

Anita Roddick, founder of The Body Shop in Littlehampton, will be a roving ambassador for the project. She will be sending reports from Body Shop product-finding missions. Her first chronicle was from Nicaragua.

She said: "There's no way around it. When you travel, you leave footprints. But this site can help to put positive spin on the inevitable. It is a way to do some active good whether you are up the Amazon or down the South Coast."

Brighton-based Justin Francis is the site's co-founder and chief executive officer.

He came up with the idea while pursuing his passion for travel to far-flung lands and through studying for an MSc in tourism, conservation and sustainable development at the University of Greenwich.

He said: "In 1999, I visited a small Zambian village and spent time working in the community. The 70- year-old chief spoke to me about the difference tourism had made to his village. It had paid for the orphanage, the well and the school. He urged me to tell others about the importance of responsible travel. I realised there was not a single point of information on the subject, yet research showed it to be something people want to know about.

"The site is a reaction to this and I believe over time it will be to travel what 'organic' is to food - more enjoyable for you and better for the environment and local people."

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