QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS : Industry Is Setting Environmental Priorities

Question: If cruise ships go to Antarctica, people take safaris to Africa to shoot the animals and tourists disturb wildlife in national parks, why doesn't the travel industry share in environmental protection programs?

Answer: The Audubon Society now demands that tour operators adhere to an environmental code of ethics, and the American Society of Travel Agents has drafted a similar code for members. Many projects to protect both natural and manmade attractions are in the process of getting started.

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Q: I want to rent a car in Europe. Are the models the same as in the United States?

A: Cars rented abroad are usually different models. Descriptions also may be confusing. For example, some of the smaller vehicles that have the lowest rates may accommodate only one person, plus luggage, and may not have automatic transmissions. Make sure that whoever makes your car reservation knows how many people are in your party so that the car-rental agency can be informed. Also, let the car-rental firms know how much baggage you'll carry, and check on the car's gas mileage and local fuel costs.

Q: Where is the Silk Road and can it be traveled the entire route?

A: The road, which was once traveled by Marco Polo and the silk caravans, is a 5,000-mile link between China and the West. It is currently included in some adventure-tour programs.

Q: I've read that the Concorde, because of age, will go out of service in a few years. Is a new model being built?

A: There is no new model yet. The British and French, however, are now studying the feasibility of building a new plane. And the U. S. Defense Department is looking into the idea of turning its newest military jets into commercial passenger planes.

Q: I'm familiar with the small luxury barges or boats that ply the small, narrow rivers in France and England. What about steamers? Do they also sail on these waterways?

A: Only in France does a 100-berth ship sail on narrow rivers. For more information, call (800) 222-8664 or a travel agent.

Q: Are all Israeli restaurants strictly kosher?

A: While kosher food at many Israeli restaurants is the rule, hotels and, of course, Arab eateries are not kosher.

Q: I'm interested in walking tours. Are there any in Europe? How much walking is involved?

A: Walking tours are getting more popular all the time and are available through travel agents. The tours generally are seven days, feature various types of accommodations and go to many different parts of the world. Also, trips are tailored to all ages--including singles, families and groups. Daily walks are from seven to 20 miles, escorted and are usually followed by a minivan that can be used by tired participants. Sightseeing also is on the walking tours' agenda.

Q: I've taken a considerable number of travel films. Is there a TV market for this footage?

A: It's a difficult market to crack because of the abundance of professional travel films available to TV stations at low cost. However, the Travel Channel Home Video Contest, 1370 6th Ave., New York 10019, offers prizes for material used.

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