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Residents & Community Representatives

There is a growing interest amongst travelers to step beyond the "boundaries of the brochure" and to truly explore and engage with a destination. As a resident of a destination, you may be ready to embrace this objective and assist travelers through this process by connecting them with unique service projects and tourism-related activities in your community. But where does one begin?

Photo Courtesy Of Tibetan Village Project All Rights Reserved

An Overview

VolunTourism is not possible without the active participation of residents and communities. As a resident or community representative, you are the single most important individual in insuring that VolunTourism has a present and a future. Your consent, your commitment, and your involvement in all facets of the development process for these programs is absolutely essential.

To fully honor yourself and your community, you must create a VolunTourism initiative that is balanced. When we use the term "balanced" in this situation, we are referring primarily to the nature of the relationship between community residents and VolunTourists. The goal in all situations will be to demonstrate a balance between the input and commitment by community members and that of visitors. Wherever possible, you want to make sure that you give as much or more to visitors than they could ever possibly give you through their time and money.

What is one of the primary benefits of VolunTourism?

Take the time to speak amongst your neighbors and other community members and discover what everyone has to offer - dancing, singing, music, arts & crafts, stories - anything at all. You will find that these are amazing gifts that can be shared with VolunTourists and ones that will be appreciated on different levels by all participants.

VolunTourism is: balanced engagement rooted in reciprocity. This is just a fancy way of saying that your role is of equal importance to that of travelers. No one is more valuable to the outcome of any trip than another. If you are willing to share in the exchange of service from others to support your community by offering, in return, the service of the "riches" of your community, everyone will benefit!

Honor the process of hearing all points of view from everyone who has an opinion about VolunTourism in your community. Discuss and discuss more. When you are ready, you will know that you are ready. Then you can reach out to those whom you think can help you. Some will connect with a church, while others will connect with a nonprofit organization. Some may even choose to work with a tour operator. In all of your dealings, be wise like the tortoise.

For additional resources, look to archives of The VolunTourist and other sections of this website. Should you have in-depth questions about how to approach VolunTourism as a Resident or Community Representative, feel free to contact us.

THE VOLUNTOURIST - Past Webcast for Residents & Community Representatives

Is VolunTourism Ready For A Co-Op Or A Co-Op LCA? - 12 May 2009


My guests, joined me to address the following:

(1)What are Co-ops & Co-op, LCAs (Limited Cooperative Associations)?

(2) What principles of Co-ops & Co-op, LCAs could be applied to VolunTourism?

(3) Given the broad diversity of voluntourism stakeholders, what would be some of the first steps to organize a global co-op for VolunTourism?

Guests addressed these topics and discussed others during this episode of The VolunTourist.

[Listen To The Webcast] (Click Here To Download)


Richard Brooks, Director of the Health Promotion Project and Outreach Program Manager in the Department of Continuing Studies, at the University of Wisconsin Madison; Colleen Coy, Coordinator of Travel Delegations, Just Coffee; Lynn Pitman, Associate Outreach Specialist, University of Wisconsin Center For Cooperatives; and Luc LaPointe, President & CEO, Connexion Internationale.

Small Destinations & VolunTourism - 22 January 2008


How are small destinations using the power of VolunTourism to draw individuals to their destinations? How can VolunTourism support the "off-season"? How are com-munities getting involved in making VolunTourism possible? And what can Volun-Tourists expect when they visit these smaller destinations? Guests address these topics and discuss others during this episode of The VolunTourist.

[Listen To The Webcast] (Click Here To Download)


Robert D. Billington, Ed.D, President, Blackstone Valley Tourism Council; Todd Russell, Youth Director, Church of Christ at Milan; Kristen Sandstrom, Marketing & Events Manager, Bayfield Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Bureau; Greg Tehven, Co-Founder, Students Today Leaders Forever.

Suggested Readings From The VolunTourist Newsletter

When A Destination Becomes A Home - What happens when the connection to a local resident warms the heart of a voluntourist?

VolunTourism 231 - This is a story about the township of Roslyn, North Dakota, population of 231 folks, and how they organized a VolunTourism experience for a busload of VolunTourists.

Resident Attitudes Toward VolunTourism I - Dr. Nancy McGehee and Dr. Kathleen Andereck share part of the research results from a survey they conducted in Tijuana, Mexico.

Resident Attitudes Toward VolunTourism II - Dr. Nancy McGehee and Dr. Kathleen Andereck share the second part of their research results from resident attitude study they conducted in Tijuana, Mexico.