Voluntourism: Travel with a purpose
Do you love to travel? Do you want to make a difference in the world? Would you like to combine your vacation with a life and perspective-altering experience? If so, voluntourism may be for you.
"Voluntourism" combines the best intentions of the non-profit sector with the excitement of the tourism sector to create stimulating, service-oriented vacations.
Voluntourism is described by some as being a variation on the Peace Corps. model. Voluntourists are individuals interested in learning about foreign countries and people by working and living in communities in developing nations.
Voluntourism is becoming a popular vacation option. A Travelocity poll taken in December 2008 found that 38 per cent of the 1,000 respondents had added volunteering to their 2007 vacation planning options. Meanwhile, Travel Industry of America statistics indicate that 55 million had volunteered during a trip and more than twice that number have plans to do so in the near future.
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Doctors, carpenters, nurses, teachers, laborers, business owners and entrepreneurs sign on for voluntourism programs to share their skills, knowledge and passion with others. These individuals want to help others in foreign lands. In return, they experience unique cultures first hand, develop new friendships and realize personal fulfillment.
Voluntourism can take you almost anywhere:
- Building schools in the Andes
- Irrigation projects in South East Asia
- Constructing efficient ovens in Central America
- Building hospitals in Eastern Europe
- Repairing trails and roads in Nepal
Globe Aware identifies worthy projects, handles the vacation and project logistics and teams up with online trip planners such as Travelocity to send voluntourists on memorable service-oriented vacations.
Globe Aware trips are expertly planned and lead by committed, knowledgeable professionals. Voluntourists not require special skills or the ability to speak a foreign language. Globe Aware employees prepare the destination ahead prior to arrival and then accompany and work alongside voluntourists during their volunteer vacation.
Voluntourism is more than simply an alternative vacation option
Voluntourists embark on trips to serve, to learn and help others. They return with new perspectives, understandings and a lifetime of memories.
Voluntourism advantages for the individual volunteer:
- Participating in meaningful service and having a deep impact on a community
- Developing new skills through service or using ones you already have in service
- Interacting with locals you would never meet in a hotel or at touristy places
- Seeing and exploring places you would never see on a typical tour or vacation
- Creating friendships that last a lifetime
- Experiencing true satisfaction from your vacation time
Voluntourism is also an excellent corporate team-building exercise and endeavour when a business or corporation sponsors team trips.
Voluntourism advantages for a business or corporation:
- Skills development/training
- Consumer participation/affinity
- Social responsibility
- Public relations