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VT Cast #21: VolunTourism Predictions 2008


What were the VolunTourism highlights from 2007? How will they impact VolunTourism in 2008? And what should we expect to see as the New Year unfolds? We will discuss these topics and more on this episode of The VolunTourist.

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Past Webcast - January 15, 2008

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Alexia Nestora, Founder, LassoCommunications.com [Bio].


[What were some of the media highlights of 2007?]

"You know what I thought was most interesting is going beyond Travel & Leisure and National Geographic Adventure & Traveler. All of a sudden publications like AARP picked it up, targeting new markets; Modern Bride picked up the story; there was Traditional Home, USA Today, Time - some really big publications picked up the voluntourism story and ran with it. And it wasn't just a little column - it was a two- , three- , four-page article - and really covering all facets of the voluntourism market.

So from a media perspective, I think it's great, because now we're reaching out beyond the traditional traveler going to new markets. Like AARP was a great example - it's targeting the Boomers - really getting kind of a new market involved in voluntourism and I think that's going to just rocket it in 2008. Because now, 2007 I feel like was the year of planting the idea; and I think in 2008 people are going to take action. My worry is that in 2008 the Media might have a backlash like there was in the UK over the Summer (2007). So I think that's something to look forward to and to be prepared for with the crisis communications and general Media questions.

People, I think, in 2008, I know I'm skipping ahead, are going to ask harder questions, make sure that what the trips they're writing about are fully socially responsible, fully sustainable, things like that. I think that's going to come to the forefront. As more people go on trips, it's only fair that a lot of people are going to have not necessarily the time of their lives, or not the time that they expected, and the Press is going to pick up on that automatically - I think."

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[What can we expect from the Media in 2008?]

"I think the messaging is going to be really important and about how they message it; it's not going to be this love affair anymore. I think the messaging is going to focus around how sustainable and how responsible the company is, and that's going to have to, I guess, echo itself on companies' own press releases, on their web sites, how they market themselves and their brochures. I think the message now is no longer 'Wow! what a great thing to go, to go abroad and help someone.' It's going to become, 'Well, I don't want to make... you know, who am I helping? Am I helping myself to make myself feel better? Or am I really helping the communities?' And I think the Media is going to dig into that question and there going to find a lot of places with some juicy material they're going to run with - that I know hundred percent.

But I think companies need to be ready for that and really have - - have their messaging and their marketing up to par to really echo everything that they're doing - that they have their sustainable projects. 'No, this isn't just a volunteering company to make some money and send someone to help.' They really need to make sure that from the beginning to the end, as well as with the courses that you're bring out Dave, that people really understand the full voluntourism concept and I think companies really need to emphasize that in 2008." Alexia Nestora

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Guest Bio


Tuesdays 10am ET/7am PT

Alexia Nestora, Founder, Lasso Communications.

- After graduating from Georgetown's School of Business, Alexia moved to New Zealand to introduce the concept of Pilates to a new market and start her own business.

- A year later the business was sold and her visa expired so Alexia moved on to Washington DC where she started new divisions for a gourmet food chain and eventually moved up to Director of Marketing and

- Being married to a Swiss, Alexia felt it was time to live in Zurich for awhile so she repeated what she did in New Zealand and helped introduce pilates into the Swiss market.

- While in Zurich, Alexia started a Cupcake bakery, sold it, and then took on various consulting roles for expats looking to start their own businesses

- Alexia then moved on to facilitate the marketing/ communications for a merger between BP Oil and NOVA Chemicals as well as consulting on intercultural relations for UBS Bank in Zurich.

- Most recently, Alexia served as the Director of i-to-i North America

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