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Tour Operators

To those of you who have a stake in the tourism industry as operators, we have designed this section of the website to broaden your understanding of the VolunTourism concept and to foster the development of your own VolunTourism initiatives.

VolunTourism can enhance and differentiate your current product and service offerings in this very competitive marketplace. We use this section of the Web site to provide recommendations as to how you can initially engage in VolunTourism activities with the goal of establishing yourself as a VolunTourism Operator (VTO).

VolunTourism is a magnificent first step on the path toward more "responsible" operations. The potential socio-economic impact generated through VolunTourism delivers the double portion of social beneficence and economic sustainability. When planned and implemented with this potential in mind, the outcomes prove tremendously rewarding for all stakeholders and constituents.

Photo Courtesy Of North By Northeast Tours All Rights Reserved

An Overview

Balance - this one word is worth far more than a thousand pictures! If VolunTourism is something that you are seriously considering as a new product/service for your outfit, then you will want to put this word on your bathroom mirror. To be successful, a tour operator must create a VolunTourism itinerary that maintains the balance between voluntary service and the traditional, and non-traditional for that matter, tourism elements of an itinerary.

Tour operators have a number of VolunTourism Models from which to choose. Which one will best serve your company, your clients, and your stakeholders? By being absolutely crystal clear in relation to your motives, goals, and objectives, and most important, your expectations, you will be able to select a suitable model from those that are currently in operation around the world.

How you incorporate VolunTourism into your business will likewise have a unique and varied blend. BUT... It must work for you, your team, and all of your constituents. Be prepared to evaluate and modify your model accordingly as you receive feedback from all of your stakeholders.

You may also wish to review a recent article published on the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration web site. Christina Heyniger, Founder of Xola Consulting, and Kristin Lamoureux, Director of The George Washington University's International Institute of Tourism Studies, are the authors of a study on Adventure Travel and Volunteering.

For additional resources, look to archives of The VolunTourist and other sections of this website. Should you have in-depth questions about how to approach VolunTourism as a Tour Operator, feel free to contact us.

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THE VOLUNTOURIST - Past Webcasts for Tour Operators

Journeys Within Our Community - 28 April 2009


The nature of blending philanthropic activity and business is being addressed in a number of ways. In this example, Journeys Within Our Community (JWOC) was started as a nonprofit extension of Journeys Within Tour Company (JWTC). Here are key questions that were addressed during the discussion:

1) How has JWOC integrated the tourism knowledge of JWTC with service to the local community?

2) When considering voluntourists' needs in juxtaposition to the needs of communities, how has JWOC been able to maintain a balanced perspective?

3) As a current voluntourist (Judy) and past voluntourist (Joanne), what advice and constructive feedback are you providing and have you provided to JWOC before, during, and/or after your trip?

Guests addressed these topics and discussed others during this episode of The VolunTourist.

[Listen To The Webcast] (Click Here To Download)


Judy Laird, current voluntourist (at the time of the broadcast) with Journeys Within Our Community; Joanne Majewski, Alternative Breaks Coordinator for the Center for Service and Action at Loyola Marymount University; and Andrea Ross, Co-Founder of Journeys Within Tour Company and Journeys Within Our Community.

Advice On Multigenerational & Family VolunTourism - 24 March 2009


The growing number of families and inter-generational groups participating in voluntourism has operators wondering how best to create itineraries and programming that will support the wide variety of interest. Here are some thoughts from three women who are involved in multi-generational travel:

1) What are some of the key elements of multi-generational & family travel?

2) When planning voluntours for multi-generational groups, what advice would you give to tour operators & NGOs?

3) What should voluntourists keep in mind if they decide to plan their own multi-generational voluntours?

Guests addressed these topics and discussed others during this episode of The VolunTourist.

[Listen To The Webcast] (Click Here To Download)


Cheryl Delisle, Manager of Generations Touring Company; Kyle McCarthy, Co-Founder of Family Travel Forum; and Ellen Regenstreif, PhD, Founder of Child Tours.

Founder/Director Series: Global Community Service Foundation - 5 August, 2008


Marcia Selva started Global Spectrum back in the early 1990's. Later she decided to add a philanthropic aspect to her work by creating the Global Community Service Foundation. Marcia shares insights into travel & tourism, in particular, voluntourism, during this candid discussion.

1) What motivated you to establish your VolunTourism Initiative/Program?

2) How does your VolunTourism Initiative/Program impact your various constituents - employees, clients, shareholders (if you have such), board members, community residents, partners, vendors, others?

3) From a "global perspective," what do you perceive to be the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, of this type of travel?

Guests addressed these topics and discussed others during this episode of The VolunTourist.

[Listen To The Webcast] (Click Here To Download)


Marcia Selva, Founder of Global Spectrum and Global Community Service Foundation.

Tour Operators & VolunTourism - 26 February 2008


What are tour operators doing to incorporate VolunTourism into their product & service offerings? Why are tour operators designing VolunTourism product & service offerings? What are the perceived benefits vs actual benefits for tour operators that include VolunTourism in their product & service offerings? Guests address these topics and discuss others during this episode of The VolunTourist.

[Listen To The Webcast] (Click Here To Download)


Allison Clark, Senior Product Manager - Africa, Collette Vacations; Brent Dalrymple, Manager, Sunrise Tours.



Suggested Readings From The VolunTourist Newsletter

VolunTourism: "Not-For-Profit-Only" - Two men, with a similar vision and a desire to leave the world a better place, have embarked on a small mission to launch Heart & Passion. Here is an introduction to Chris Coyne and Scott Laughlin.

Understanding The Volunteer Tourist: A Qualitative Inquiry - Justin Taillon and Tazim Jamal provide insights into the nature of the voluntourist. What are some of the characteristics of these travelers?

The Partnership VolunTourism Model - In this article tour operators are encouraged to seek partnerships with other operators and/or nonprofit organizations to enhance their VolunTourism programs and to mitigate risk.

Outbound VolunTourism: National Tour Association (NTA) Panel Session Recap - This is a recap of the 2005 NTA Panel Sesion on VolunTourism with comments from Carlye Cook (Tauck World Discovery) and Gail Bremner (Aquila Tours).

Outbound VolunTourism: Tauck World Discovery & Yellowstone National Park - This article discusses the unique VolunTourism program designed by Tauck World Discovery in partnership with Yellowstone National Park.