Voluntourism Catching On – Early Show with Peter Greenberg

Woo hoo – yet another morning show has covered voluntourism with our great advocate Peter Greenberg. Some of the stats he used to prove that voluntourism is a growing trend came from the very survey you all participated in months ago on the state of the volunteer travel industry. So well done everyone for coming together and providing some stats on the industry. I just got a call from another morning show wanting to feature voluntourism, so woo hoo, here we go!

(CBS) About 100-thousand people each year take vacations focused on volunteer work, and that number is growing.

What’s behind the trend — and might such vacations be for you?

Travel guru Peter Greenberg observed on “The Early Show” Monday that volunteer vacations are one of the fastest growing segments of the travel industry.

Despite a tough economy, or maybe because of it, more and more Americans are taking a “volunteer vacation.” Some do it to give back to others, and some do as a result of a sort of indirect guilt trip, feeling it’s not right to spend big bucks on big vacations, so they get their reward through giving back.

YOU SAY THERE IS A VOLUNTEER VACATION OUT THERE TO MEET EVERYONE’S NEEDS. HOW DO WE DEFINE A VOLUNTEER VACATION?

You can dedicate a whole trip to volunteering or you can actually bookend the trip, meaning you can have a regular vacation and then do a few days volunteering at the end of the trip. Working or volunteer vacations are a great way to get a deal on a trip and also make a difference-without having to serve two years in the Peace Corps. Whether it’s helping to save Leatherback sea turtles in Costa Rica, delivering crucial medical supplies to an orphanage in El Salvador, helping to build a hospital in southern Thailand, or helping in the continuing efforts to rebuild the ninth ward in New Orleans nearly four years after hurricane Katrina,each trip allows us to make a real difference while exploring the world, getting immersed in a different culture and even learning a new language

WHY DO YOU THINK THESE TYPES OF VACATIONS ARE SEEING AN UPSWING?

It is one of the fastest growing segments in the travel industry, and despite a tough economy, or perhaps because of it, more and more Americans are opting to travel a little differently this year…they are taking a volunteer vacation. Part of the reasoning, of course, is to give back, to help others. And another driving force behind the growth of volunteer vacations is that they have in essence become a sort of indirect guilt trip — many travelers these days don’t feel right about spending ten solid days at a spa so they bookend their pampering with another kind of feel-good activity — giving back. Also, many of them are tax-deductible.

ARE THEY USUALLY CHEAPER THAN A REGULAR VACATION?

Depending on the organization they can be, but sometime they aren’t……it depends what type of trip you take…you can have some like the Airline Ambassador program which allows you to get most of the same perks that the airline employees get on airfares/hotels and then you have some that are much more high end-like the Earthwatch institute that can end up being quite costly.

WHERE DO YOU SUGGEST PEOPLE GO TO FIND OUT ABOUT THE ORGANIZATIONS THAT SPONSOR THESE TYPES OF VACATIONS?

The first thing to do is Google “volunteer vacations.” Narrow the many that come up based on your own personal interests.

Read the full story: http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/08/03/earlyshow/living/travel/main5205891.shtml

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3 thoughts on “Voluntourism Catching On – Early Show with Peter Greenberg

  1. It’s great to see voluntourism, my life for the last 5 years, taking off. I teach classes here in Seattle on inexpensive volunteer vacations to encourage people and let them know how to find opportunities around the globe.

  2. Wow. I didn’t know about bookending a trip (doing “a few days volunteering at the end of the trip”). It’s a really great alternative for people who don’t necessarily want to dedicate an entire trip to volunteering. It’s like having your cake and eating it too.

    Thanks for sharing!

    -Anis Salvesen
    UniversalGiving.org

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