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September 2005 - 3Q's

The VolunTourist™ is a premium Newsletter for the Travel Trade. For those interested in discovering what is happening in the world of VolunTourism and seeking emerging practices, general information, and case studies, this is your Source.


SEPTEMBER 2005 - Home


So You May Know
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Passion With Purpose!

Our “3-Q’s” for this month were answered by Renee Werbin, Publisher of Travel Girl, Inc., Magazine. Here is what she had to say in answer to our questions:

1. What does VolunTourism offer to travelers, in particular, traveling women?

VolunTourism can help travelers understand another culture and it is through that cultivation of understanding that travel proves to be illuminating. The opportunity to share in both the positive and challenging aspects of other people’s lives is part of the gift that VolunTourism can offer to travelers. The idea that greater tolerance can be manifested as a result of the understanding provided through this type of travel is incredibly important at this particular juncture in our world.

When we started Travel Girl, Inc., it was in realizing that following the events of September 11th that individuals were afraid to travel. There was concern in the minds of every person that was considering traveling to another part of the world, especially to those areas perceived to be homes and sympathetic territories for would-be terrorists. But we wanted to demonstrate that the world is still navigable. It is possible to travel; and it is through that experience of travel that understanding and tolerance can be fostered.

When you add the component of voluntary service, you open the door to understanding and tolerance even wider. By sharing in the experience of “walking in another person’s shoes,” it is much more likely that change in attitude and perception will occur. Experiencing the sounds and the people of other places through VolunTourism provides a canvas upon which the vibrant colors of understanding and tolerance can be painted.

2. Do you think that women have a pre-disposition to participating in VolunTourism?

“In my opinion, women and men have this gift of service.” Certainly, as research conducted by Travel Girl, Inc. shows, 75% of all household travel decisions are made by women. Because they also have a predominantly higher commitment to service, it is likely that they will make the decisions as to whether a family will participate in VolunTourism. But it does not seem that men would be any less inclined to participate if given ample opportunity to do so.

Women and men seem to have an equal desire for learning and promoting understanding although these may have traditionally been seen as objectives held primarily by women. VolunTourism gives equal opportunity to women and men to enjoin upon this task of giving back to those who are in need.


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3. What can VolunTourism accomplish for the travel and tourism industry?

VolunTourism gives travel purpose. For those who see and experience travel as their passion, this is the combination of passion with purpose. When one can give their passion a purpose, it only enhances the activity.

But the purpose goes beyond just the passion. The action of connecting cultures and people’s of various countries is a purpose also. It is not just about the individual’s experience of the purpose associated with being of service to someone else or the environment. It is also a matter of the purpose associated with bringing together those that may not have a clear understanding of each other and their respective lifestyles and customs. Combining passion with a dual purpose is very significant.

About Renee Werbin

"So many times I have thought how wonderful it would be to publish a magazine with insights into a world I know so much about. travelgirl is the realization of that dream. I welcome the opportunity to share my experiences with the public as I have been doing for so many years with my clients."

Atlanta native Renee Werbin knows the ins and outs of the travel business. She has successfully navigated the industry for nearly 14 years as CEO and President of SRI Travel and Werbin LTI Tours, LTD. Her companies specialize in tailor-made international travel for a vast array of clients. She has dined on the floor in a Bedouin tent, snorkeled among sting rays and enjoyed the privilege of spending the night in a suite that rents for $2,200.00 per day.

Werbin's travel expertise has influenced network news organizations, multi-million dollar corporations, politicians and dignitaries from around the world. One of her most recent projects led well-known pastors to the depths of Israel  -- no small feat in today's uncertain world. She arranged meetings with top politicians in the country and the events of the visit were videotaped for television broadcast.

She has been a guest many times on CNN, FOX and CBS. Her traveling companions have included publishers and editors from some of the most distinguished publications in the country. In 2000, Renee had the great fortune of planning a trip to France for CNN Travel Now. The star of the show, Stephanie Oswald, went on to become her dear friend and her partner at travelgirl.

Renee is the mother of three grown children. Her husband Sam is an attorney. Beyond traveling, her passions include writing and charity work. She serves on five advisory and charity boards.

Renee's list of professional accomplishments includes: contributor for Vision Magazine, former Travel Editor for Southern Lady Magazine, contributor to Southern Flair, named a DIVA by Business-to-Business Magazine in 2000, named a Woman of Achievement in Atlanta , and in the year 2001 she was named Atlanta 's Favorite Travel Agent by a local magazine.

For more information about Renee Werbin and Travel Girl, Inc., please visit their website.

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