Backpacker Companies Unite, Voluntourism Folks Could Be Next?

Randy LeGrant from just sent me the below memo. Seems like the Backpacker industry is uniting in a really great way, I have to wonder if teh volunteer industry will ever get over the bickering and unite like this. It seems like its about time (and no IVPA and BBC don’t count).
Date: November 2, 2010 7:58:43 AM EDT
Subject: Backpacker Transport Operators Network Formed at WYSTC
Source: WYSTC Blog
Author: Jacqueline

In what could prove to be one of the most significant announcements in backpacking for many years, seven backpacking transport operators have taken the first step in forming a joint global marketing organisation, in a private meeting on the opening day of WYSTC 2010.

The group have agreed, in principle, to drive this initiative forward into a formal organisational structure. They have set themselves a 6-week schedule to create a budget for web development, database development and a business-to-consumer trade show schedule.

During this period the group, to be known as the Backpacker Transport Operators Network, will also clearly define their charter of operation as well as operational guidelines within a code of conduct.

“Ensuring that all members at this table operate to the highest possible standards that reflects positively on each other’s business is a key component to the success of this organisation,” stated Oz Experience Director Greg Zammit.

Most significantly, the founding members of the Backpacker Transport Operators Network will work toward sharing their databases of customers such that joint marketing efforts can be undertaken and a referral program put in place.

“One of the frustrating things about our business is that every year we start with a prospects database of zero – there are no repeat customers. With this fantastic group of companies it means that suddenly my customers become Stray or Oz Experience prospects, in effect you are creating return customers,” said Rob Sheridan Managing Director of Moose Travellers Network.

“From a customer’s point of view there is real value in receiving discounts and product updates from like-minded companies, as well as a knowledge that these organisations are striving together to provide a style of travel that they desire,” summed up Stray Asia and Stray New Zealand Managing Director Neil Geddes.

The founding companies are Stray Asia, Stray New Zealand, Oz Experience, Dragon Bus China, Bamba Bus Latin America, Moose Travellers Network Canada and Falafel Bus Middle East. This group is expected to grow to approximately 10 or 12 organisations over the next few months.

Read more…

One thought on “Backpacker Companies Unite, Voluntourism Folks Could Be Next?

  1. At WYSE Work Abroad ( there is a Volunteer Abroad Working Group that is very active. What sets this group apart from all the rest is that it is a GLOBAL working group made up of senders of volunteers and receivers of volunteers.

    I’d recommend any sender or receiver looking into WYSE Work Abroad and getting involved globally. Each year we actually participate in 2 volunteer projects (senders and receivers) as a kind of “where the rubber meets the road” and we also meet twice per year.

    If you want more information, email me at or just give me a call. 203-453-5838 ext. 1#. I’m happy to talk to you about WYSE and the work done by the working group. Our next project is in Brussels in March.

    If you are looking to be involved globally, you send volunteers abroad or you receive them (organization or project) you can join and get involved. We are not an exclusive group like IVPA and we are a global group, unlike the BBC which at this time is 100% U.S. With volunteer ABROAD, why wouldn’t you join a global group of senders and receivers?

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