Voluntourism in the mainstream

Flipping through the pages of most high end consumer travel magazines – Travel and Leisure, Conde Nast Travel and the like – exposes the curious to some of the most luxurious brands on the planet. These magazines are the showcases for some of today’s most upmarket consumer brands and the content of the magazines – both the editorial and the advertising – reflect the interests of these affluent readers. At first glance- it may seem that these interests are exclusively self centered but a closer examination shows that issues of sustainability and responsible tourism are receiving increasing coverage.

Voluntourism – where visitors volunteer for charities and NGOs in the destination – has been an important trend in recent years . It is great to see Conde Nast Traveler’s Dorinda Elliott covering voluntourism in a recent edition. I particularly like that Dorinda article recognizes the challenges of voluntourism.

I am a strong believer that most acts of charity do more good than harm. Nevertheless  unintended consequences – even when the motives are pure – need to be carefully considered. Dorinda follows her main article with an empowering sidebar of recommendations for people considering spending part their vacation helping others. Bravo !

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