Volunteer-related travel has been one of the biggest trends in tourism in the past decade but who is measuring how much good it is doing? With “voluntourism” now a mainstream commodity, many are questioning to what extent the good-natured intentions of travellers are being matched by benefits to communities.
Concerns about the contradictory nature of some voluntourism programs have prompted the International Ecotourism Society and Planeterra – a non-profit foundation created by adventure tourism operator G Adventures – to commit to developing a set of guidelines for the sector. The organisations say the guidelines, which will be released in coming weeks, will help operators plan and manage their programs in a sustainable way and help travellers make “smart decisions” about which programs to support.
Wearing, who is an associate professor in leisure and tourism at the University of Technology Sydney and is on the panel developing the guidelines, says there are widespread concerns about… (click here to keep reading this article by Jane E. Fraser)