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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.

Volume 6 Issue 4 Contents


VolunTourism 2020 Vision: 160 Million VolunTourists!
By the end of this decade, the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has estimated that roughly 1.6 billion people will be traveling on an annual basis. I would like to think that of that 1.6 billion, we can engage 160 million, or ten percent, in voluntary service during some portion of their itineraries. Too optimistic? Not in my opinion. Exactly how will it be accomplished? Two items will be essential for success: 1) Destination-specific VolunTourism Web Portals, and 2) The Dragonfly Effect.


For VolunTourists: How To Make The Most Of Your VolunTourism Experience - Part II
In this, the second installment of a two-part series, we will continue to explore practical guidance for voluntourists - how to make the most of their inner, as well as outer, VolunTourism Experiences. After careful review and consideration of the growing body of academic research and blog posts and articles on VolunTourism from across the globe, some patterns have emerged regarding the challenges faced by voluntourists. In order to be better prepared to address these issues as they arise, I suggest that voluntourists adopt three practices: 1) Create a "VolunTourism Buddy System," 2) Set yourself up for progress in your volunteer work, and 3) Learn to manage the inevitable 'VolunTourism Polarities.'


VolunTourism 2011: What Can We Expect In The Year Ahead?

Whereas VolunTourism 2010 will be remembered as the Year of the Critics, VolunTourism 2011 is shaping up to be the Year of Small & Medium-sized Destinations (SMDs) and NGOs, with a major twist, in developed countries. That's right, cash-strapped municipalities and NGOs, grappling respectively with lost tax revenues and steep declines in philanthropic giving in the continuing aftermath of the Economic Meltdown, will turn to VolunTourism in 2011. By leveraging travelers' resources - their money, their time, and their bodies & minds, SMDs and NGOs will certainly stretch their own resources, but most important of all, they will move travel from a transaction to an exercise that is more firmly rooted in the relational. What else can we expect in 2011?


"Removing Plants from Walls at Machu Picchu" Copyright © Conservation VIP, All Rights Reserved


Your Letters To VolunTourism.org
Thank you for your letters, questions, and comments to VolunTourism.org. Though we are not able to answer every one of them in a timely manner, we do get around to them. This issue is no exception. Read More>>>

Wisdom & Insight

Brain Fitness, Cognitive Health, And VolunTourism

Brain research has expanded almost exponentially, it seems, over the last decades, and we are now discovering, more than ever before, about how our brains respond to different stimuli and to different activities. We are even being reminded of our individualized capacity to consciously alter the pathways in our brains by establishing new habits, new ways of thinking, and doing so by utilizing age-old technologies such as yoga meditation and the practice of mantras. Any experience, of course, will 're-wire the brain,' but this should not be the focus of our attention. Instead, as a VolunTourism Community, we should consider how VolunTourism experiences can serve to assist voluntourists in exploring their own brain fitness and cognitive health. Read More>>>


The Latest Mantra: "Voluntourism Does More Harm Than Good"
"The harsh truth is that 'voluntourism' is more about the self-fulfillment of westerners than the needs of developing nations." So wrote Ian Birrell, of The Observer, in what probably will prove, to date anyway, to be the most-read-article ever published on voluntourism: "Before You Pay To Volunteer Abroad, Think of the Harm You Might Do." It has had a catalytic effect generating tens of thousands of Facebook postings, Tweets, blog posts and articles across the globe. In response, the Verge Magazine Blog gave us some profound advice: "The solution to the problem, however, is NOT to abandon all programs for volunteering abroad." Here's what others had to offer in the quarter that was... Read More>>>


The 'B Corporation' And VolunTourism
As the purpose of business moves from maximizing stockholder's return on investment to shared value creation and maximizing societal return on involvement, companies need a set of guiding principles and metrics to assist them in developing and maintaining consistency in their commitment to these goals & objectives. VolunTourism Operators, in particular, need a platform from which they can better convey this very commitment. Fortunately, B Corporation has come along to provide these services and to assist companies in benchmarking their socio-environmental impacts. To learn more about these efforts, I have asked Jordan David Chazin, of B Corporation, to answer this issue's 3Qs. Read More>>>

Supply Chain

Conservation VIP
Since March 2005, The VolunTourist Newsletter has attempted to cover some of the most innovative, cutting edge VolunTourism programs around the world. This issue's "Supply Chain" is no exception. Quite possibly the most remarkable model of public-private partnership in the global VolunTourism space, Conservation VIP offers the rarest of opportunities - to conduct volunteer work on the Inca Trail and within Machu Picchu itself. In addition, Conservation VIP was recently named a recipient of a Tourism Cares matching grant to defray costs for the construction of the Grey Glacier Quebrada Suspension Bridge in Torres del Paine National Park, Chile. Want to go?!? Read More>>>

Study & Research with Dr. Nancy McGehee

Volunteer Tourism, Development, And Education In A Post-Colonial World: Conceiving Global Connections Beyond Aid
For this issue of the research forum section of The VolunTourist Newsletter, we are very pleased to welcome Carlos Palacios from Macquarie University. Mr. Palacios has been looking at the debate regarding who benefits the most from volunteer tourism, whether it be participants or local residents. In the paper that follows, he offers a different view, one based upon his personal volunteer tourism experience in Vietnam, that moves volunteer tourism from the context of aid and development to the context of connectivity between peoples of different cultures and the accompanying learning and exchange of knowledge. Further, he suggests that by doing so, volunteer tourism will be less likely to be critiqued in neo-colonialist terms. Read More>>>

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