Congrats Earthwatch!

Boston-based Earthwatch got a royal surprise yesterday when it was named to the list of charities that Prince William and Kate Middleton want their wedding guests to support.

Read the full article: http://www.boston.com/ae/celebrity/articles/2011/03/17/charity_earthwatch_gets_royal_treatment/

Advertisements

Great Industry Research from PURE

If you haven’t seen the latest survey PURE did it’s worth a quick read, have a look here for the full report, bullets below: http://www.purelifeexperiences.com/pureinsights.pdf

  • Because of this radical paradigm shift, the time when average companies could sell average products to average customers
    is at an end. Todays’ business world is aware of this and is therefore rapidly embracing the social media revolution. With
    Internet World Stats confirming that Internet browsers spend 11% of their time online on social networking sites, and with
    Nielsen stating that the number of Facebook users could soon outrun that of Google users, marketing on social media sites
    definitely seems to be the way forward.
  • The number of Latina American travellers in the near future is expected to reach half the total number of European travellers and that of
    North American travellers. When asked to state specific regions, Experiential Suppliers stated that they expect to welcome an increasing number of
    clients mostly from China, Brazil, Russia and Argentina.
  • Interestingly, data reveals that 55% of customers are late bookers: they book their itineraries from 0 to 3 months prior to their departure on holiday.
  • Experiential Suppliers claim that 89% of a remarkable transformational travel offering is NOT about the price, and Private
    Travel Designers confirm that over 85% of their clients’ vacation decision-making process is not based on price. At PURE we believe that
    if a company is competing on price, it is because it is already selling a commodity whereas bespoke Experiential Travel does not need to
    rely on pricing strategies because it is about enriching people’s lives via unique tailor-made experiences.
  • Among the most sought after forms of experiences,
    clients seek to:
    gain cultural knowledge and connect with a different culture (40% on average)
    connect with nature (20% on average)
    embark on explorative adventures (15% on average)
    reach self-discovery (10% on average)

 

Voluntrippin.com Launches – Post from the Founder

There’s a recurring conversation that I tend to have with friends.  It starts with me saying something like,

“Hey, let’s go to Cambodia (Sri Lanka, Argentina, Tibet, Russia–wherever)!”

“Cambodia?” they say, “That’d be so cool.”

“Let’s go then,” I say.

“When?  For how long?”   They smile; their eyes shift away a little.

“2 months,” I say, “at least!”

“I can’t.”  Inevitably, ‘I can’t.’  I’m stuck in this lease.  I have this job.  This car payment.  This furniture.  This stuff.  What would I do with all this stuff?!

To be honest, when people ask me why I started Voluntrippin, I usually give them the easy answer: Have you ever typed ‘volunteer abroad’ into a search engine?  These programs charge thousands of dollars to volunteer.  It’s absurd.  The less-given answer is a little more complicated…  I want to facilitate the connection of people, the incidence of life-changing experiences.  And in interacting with people from a culture that is foreign, you will have life-changing experiences, because you’ll cease to see your home culture in the same way.  Then you think about the things you do at home, the life paths that you follow.  And maybe you’ll start to wonder if you’re only choosing something because you were made to believe that it was one of a select handful of options.

I’m not saying that having a car is bad.  Or having a lease or furniture.  But there’s this point when you realize that you don’t really have to have those things if you don’t want them, and it’s really liberating.  It’s like the world opens up.  Suddenly it’s like you could do almost anything.  There are so many choices.  This, for me, is what leads to the other motivation for starting Voluntippin: while my circumstances (economic, cultural, societal) motivate my life choices, for many people, their circumstances eliminate their life choices.  And maybe we might be able to help change that.  And maybe one of the ways to help change that is by volunteering.

I don’t think that volunteering abroad is altruistic.  Realistically, the money for my plane ticket could probably do more good than I can.  I volunteer abroad because I love traveling, because I love meeting new people.  I hope that by volunteering I can change people’s lives in some way, maybe aid in providing them with more life choices.  But I don’t expect to ever see measurable change from a single volunteer abroad experience.

It’s hard not to suspect, though, that if enough people started giving their time to these volunteer abroad programs, that some measurable change could start to occur.  I think it’s unfortunate that the saturation of expensive volunteer abroad programs likely deters a lot of people wanting to volunteer.  At the same time, though, it’s exciting that the extremely low cost of a lot of great programs out there will actually motivate people who hadn’t even thought about volunteering to go donate their time and effort somewhere, simply because they want to travel for cheap.

The cheap programs tend to be grassroots, or locally-run.  They simply can’t compete with the marketing of these established companies’ dominating online presence.  So that’s the basic goal of Voluntrippin: to give these free and low-cost programs a voice.  And I really believe that if these programs had a voice, that the popularity of volunteering abroad would increase exponentially.  Because when volunteering abroad is done right, everybody wins.  A volunteer gets to see new things, learn, travel inexpensively, and program beneficiaries get a helping hand and a guest with a worldview completely different than their own.

We want to be the best online resource for finding free and low-cost volunteer abroad programs–a place where you can browse programs by your interests, planned destinations; where you can read testimonials from past volunteers and even stories from people who are out there volunteering, and why they think it’s such an invaluable experience.  Right now we’re just starting, but that’s where we hope to get.  Our site will always be free, and we’ll always be eager to talk to our readers, whether they have questions, criticisms, stories, or just some great ideas.  Let us know what you think: http://voluntrippin.com/.

Safe travels,

Nikolai Walker

Founder & Editor-In-Chief, Voluntrippin.com

nikolai@voluntrippin.com

Voluntourism Review Site Launches

Have you seen Charity Republic yet? “A website dedicated to volunteers where you can rate your volunteer experience or find the best volunteering gig for you based on what others are saying.”

“Looking to volunteer? Read volunteer reviews to find the right fit for you. Or rate and share your volunteer experience with a charity or nonprofit, to help other volunteers just like you! Charity Republic is a volunteer forum – it’s all ‘word of mouth’ experiences from a volunteer’s perspective. Join us on Twitter and Facebook too!”

Still in its infancy but it looks like they are giving it a good try.