New Concept for Voluntourism –! Check them out.

This is a great new idea that I love and wanted to share! We could definitely learn from this example and add similar programs to our projects! Check them out at

Non-profit organization Investours is offering a completely new way to give back while you travel! Founded in 2008, Investours is pioneering a new concept called “microfinance tourism,” and currently running tours in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.  Investours offers travelers a chance to get off the beaten path and interact with local people while directly contributing to poverty alleviation in the community they visit.

During a tour, travelers meet several local entrepreneurs – people who are seeking loans to start up small business projects like woodcarving, fishing, dressmaking, food stands, make-up sales and piñata making. The tour participants engage with the entrepreneurs about their businesses, their lives and why they need a loan. Over a traditionally prepared meal at the end of the tour, the group decides on one of the entrepreneurs to receive an interest-free loan funded by the group’s tour fees. This loan, along with ongoing financial education provided by Investours’ microfinance partners, helps to improve the lives of local business owners and their families.

This past week, Investours visited several entrepreneurs in the small town of Bucerias outside of Puerto Vallarta and chose restaurant owner Mari Chui to receive the interest-free loan (photo attached). Mari runs a restaurant out of her home in order to supplement her husband’s construction salary and support her children. With the loan, she plans to improve the look of her restaurant by adding a cement floor and painting the outside. Her dream is to one day open a rooftop restaurant so that guests can enjoy her spectacular view of all of Bucerias and the sea.

Tourists have been raving about the Investours experience on blogs, publications, and travel sites. Check out Trip Advisor Dar es Salaam and Trip Advisor Puerto Vallarta pages for some great quotes from tour alumni. For more information about the Investours model and to sign up for a tour, visit or e-mail

4 thoughts on “New Concept for Voluntourism –! Check them out.

  1. This really is an interesting concept……makes me think ‘American Idol’ tourism………a panel choosing the best presentation. I would be interested to know exactly how the loan works. The web-site does not go into detail. For example, how long are businesses given to pay the loan back. Then what happens to the repayment money, does it go into the pot to provide a loan for another group? What happens if a loan cannot be repaid? Also, I noticed if a group fails to qualify three times, it then gets the loan anyway……..even if it is a bad business proposition? The web-site could do a better job at describing the process (unless it is there but I have overlooked it). That apart, it is a concept worth delving into.

  2. Agreed – great concept! It should be able to be executed well, but one query if the participants on the tour are well placed to make the right decision about the best venture to loan to.
    A variant of this, which we have done, is for people to raise funds for a microloan charity, and as part of a “charity challenge” tour, spend time with the recipients of the funding (trusting that the microloan charity has the expertise to decide who is best placed to receive funding), and gaining valuable insights in to their lives, inspiring them to be ongoing donors to the charity.

  3. Hi,

    I’m the Travel editor at Before It’s News. Our site is a People Powered news platform with over 4,000,000 visits a month and growing fast.

    We would be honored if we could republish your blog RSS feed in our Travel category we are launching in the next several weeks. This will generate more traffic for your site.

    Please tell me what you would like as your byline (typically the blog’s name)
    Voluntourism Gal

    Zack Stieber
    Travel Editor, Before It’s News

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