Voluntourism Discussion Happening Now

An interesting discussion is happening on Social Edge about “Travel with a Conscience” and includes not only the more familiar eco-tourism/sustainable tourism, but also “voluntourism” and/or philanthropy tourism.  My positive experience with Solimar Marketing, which is eco/sustainable tourism-based, makes this discussion particularly interesting to me.

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2 responses to “Voluntourism Discussion Happening Now

  1. handsupholidays

    Voluntourism is a subject that is near and dear to my heart, as I am the founder of Hands Up Holidays (www.handsupholidays.com) and we focus on trips that blend eco-sightseeing with a taste of volunteering.
    Travel philanthropy is a related subject, and as far as I can tell, the main difference between this and voluntourism is that with voluntourism trips, our guests actively get involved in volunteer projects for 3-5 days and pay a donation to the charity, whereas in travel philanthropy, guests do not get actively involved in a project, although they will visit it and then sponsor it.
    Essentially they have the same ends: to transform lives through travel… both the travellers’ and the local peoples’ lives, and as ongoing sponsorship and passionate advocacy is a key aim of our trips, we share that in common with Travel Philanthropy.
    From our perspective, it takes actually engaging with communities in a meaningful way by interacting through volunteering to capture the hearts and minds of our guests to want to be ongoing sponsors and advocates, but if people can reach this end without volunteering, then that is great as well.

  2. Hi Chris,

    Thanks for your comment! I’ve been checking out your program and it looks great – kudos on getting approval from Anita Roddick . I’m glad to see that this is a growing trend, and hopefully a thriving business for you. When I was in high school, I spent a week each summer as part of a group working on the Appalachia Service Project, and it was indeed a transformative experience for me. Best of luck!

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