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.
Wisdom & Insight
Here is this month's question for the Wisdom Council on VolunTourism:
What is VolunTourism?
Chris A. from Florida
VolunTourism is formerly defined as:
A seamlessly integrated combination of voluntary service to a destination and the best, traditional elements of travel—arts, culture, geography, history and recreation—in that destination.
But what does this really mean?
Well, what it really means is that VolunTourism is an ideal. Ideally a balanced approach to travel in which both of these elements are harmonized and presented in a travel package that "over-delivers" is the goal.
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However, if we look at the volunteerism industry on one end of the spectrum and the tourism industry on the other, neither side has intimate knowledge of their counterpart. In fact, there is misunderstanding regarding the respective terms - volunteerism and tourism.
Tourism industry professionals have practiced a certain style of operation and have become quite good at what they do. Likewise, volunteerism industry professionals have excellent skillsets in their area of expertise. Rarely, however, will you find executives that have both of these skillsets. This is what is needed.
The way to generate these skillsets is to create an industry product, like VolunTourism experiences, that will allow both industries the opportunity to move toward a more balanced product. Volunteer organizations can partner with tour operators to offer their clients "tourism" options. And, as a reversal of skillsets, tourim industry professionals can highlight voluntary service activities through partnerships with NGO's.
This is the task that VolunTourism hopes to address. By establishing, first and foremost, the idea that these two industries can be integrated and can assist one another in delivering unique experiences for travelers, VolunTourism will serve as the conduit for this to actually occur.
Ultimately it is the responsibility of the stakeholders to make the effort. Having an objective, like VolunTourism, as a point of reference will assist in the process.
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