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The VolunTourist™ is a premium Newsletter for the Travel Trade. For those interested in discovering what is happening in the world of VolunTourism™ and seeking emerging practices, general information, and case studies, this is your Source.

Volume 9 Issue 4 Contents

Bayfield 1380

Bayfield -- Site of the Best Voluntourism Program in the World?
Since its inception, I have been tracking the Apostle Islands Sled Dog Race Voluntourism Program in Bayfield, Wisconsin. As we annually approach the 1st of February, I take a closer, more refined look at the Bayfield community and how this event has become a "voluntourism bucket list" item for voluntourists interested in such things. Nevertheless, what has eluded me over the past six years is why other communities around the world have not used this voluntourism program as a model to replicate in their own communities. Is it the lack of snow? No sled dogs? What exactly?

Perhaps what is needed is an explanation of the elements that are included and why the Apostle Islands Sled Dog Race (AISDR) Voluntourism Program might be the best such program in the world.


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When Voluntourist Meets Business Professional
There is a new trend that should be duly noted when it comes to the evolution of voluntourism. Describing this trend in a few words is a bit clunky. We could call it "professional voluntourism sabbaticals," perhaps, or "professional voluntourism gap years," or, simply, "professional voluntours." Whatever we call it, we are seeing Gen-X, Gen-Y & Millennials moving about the planet with professional business skills and assets coming into contact with volunteer programs that have typically catered to an audience that rarely questions or rarely provides constructive feedback. When this occurs, something has to shift. In the case of Kathryn Pisco and her husband Mike, two medical industry sales professionals, they realized very quickly what one foundational element was missing from the volunteer engagements with which they connected: Customer Relationship Management (CRM). In the piece that follows, Kathryn shares the ups and downs of voluntouring over a 9-month period in Southeast Asia and Africa and how she and her husband uncovered the CRM key - quite possibly the key which will open the door of engagement for future professional voluntourists.


Goodwill Poaching: Volunteering, Travel and the Rise of Grey & Black Market Aid

In almost every country across this planet volunteering is considered a form of labor, regardless of the lack of remuneration for services rendered. As such, there are visas and/or special permits required in order to cross a nation’s borders and volunteer within that country. Likewise, there are existing country-specific regulations for taxable income, including income generated from such activities as hosting volunteers. At present, there are many indications that these regulations are not being honored at the host-country level as it pertains to the combination of volunteering and travel. We do, however, know that travelers are utilizing transportation to these countries that is generally associated with the formal economy. As a result, a formal-to-informal economy, or grey-black market, is being created in destinations around the world. Before we can address this challenge, however, we need to better understand it. What is the informal economy? Is there a rationale behind it? Do we hold a collective attitude that do-gooding entitles us to circumvent rules & regulations? In what follows we'll explore these questions and offer suggestions on how to improve the overall situation.


Adventure Philanthropist
TTDG 1300


Your Letters To VolunTourism.org
Thank you for your letters, questions, and comments to VolunTourism.org. Read More>>>

Wisdom & Insight

Wisdom & Insights from an "Adventure Philanthropist"

The intersection of travel and intentional beneficence is birthing in many ways across the planet. In any destination we offer time in the form of voluntary service; we give money or products or services; we reach out to friends, family, colleagues, and even businesses to increase our giving capacity. Distinctions in types of, and degrees of, commitment are expressed in the terms which are utilized to describe the intersection - be it adventure service, learning service, traveler's philanthropy, gap year volunteering, volun-traveling, voluntouring, or, as Erin Michelson explains to us, "adventure philanthropy." Erin is the author of the recently released Adventure Philanthropist: Great Adventures Volunteering Abroad. In this issue for Wisdom & Insight, Erin shares the "Introduction" of her book. Read More>>>


What If Communities Really Want Our Money More Than Our Time & Effort?
Why has the developed world, particularly institutions of higher learning, spent such an inordinate amount of time and effort in portraying voluntary service as the most significant contribution that college students, family vacationers, backpackers, business professionals, and the like can deliver to host communities? Have we romanticized volunteering because we see it as some significant spiritual practice inextricably linked to our own salvation? Would the economics of voluntourism prove injurious to our egoistic idealism? Is it possible that communities really value our money over our time and effort? Perhaps voluntourism is a means for all stakeholders to realize the benefits they seek - volunteers seek belongingness & connection through service, while host communities seek economic gain through providing services (for which they are paid) to support visiting voluntourists. Can one really exist without the other? Read More>>


SAVE VERNAZZA: Voluntourism in the Aftermath of Disaster in the Developed World
For this issue, we turn to Vernazza, Italy, to converse with Ruth Manfredi and Michelle Lilly, co-founders of Save Vernazza. In 2013, Save Vernazza launched as "Turisti nei Cia'n" ("Tourists in our Territory"), hosting 314 voluntourists, engaging 16 landowners, and creating 5 part-time jobs for local women serving as bi-lingual guides and cooks. Projects focused on supporting local farmers in recovering from the October 2011 mudslides that impacted the region. As natural disasters challenge every destination in the world, it is important for the developed world to have a model of how the time, talent, and treasure of travelers can be harnessed through voluntourism. The Ladies of Save Vernazza provide us with insights in this issue's 3-Q's. Read More>>>

Supply Chain

It's Simple: Travel To Do Good!
What happens when people of different ethnicities and cultural backgrounds participate in voluntourism? Travel To Do Good (TTDG) founder Roslyn Parker is exploring what this means as she brings voluntourists from diverse cultures to Jamaica, South Africa, and Ghana, as examples. She and her team from Affinity Travel Group are working to build on a mission that began for her some 20 years ago on a trip to the Dominican Republic. How did that life-changing event alter the way she formerly perceived travel & tourism, and how did it come to shape her work with TTDG? We'll explore these topics and more in this issue's Supply Chain. Read On>>>

Study & Research with Dr. Nancy McGehee

Volunteer Tourism As Popular Humanitarianism
For this issue of the research forum section of The VolunTourist Newsletter, we are pleased to share highlights from the forthcoming book, “Volunteer Tourism: Popular Humanitarianism in Neoliberalism Times” (Ashgate, in press) written by Mary Mostafanezhad of Dunedin, New Zealand.  This research monograph is based on 16 months of ethnographic research in northern Thailand among three NGOs that use volunteer tourism as a social and economic development as well as environmental conservation strategy. This study situates volunteer tourism within broader trends in the Global North around what Mostafanezhad refers to as “popular humanitarianism” or humanitarianism enacted by concerned consumer citizens.  Read More>>>

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