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Published on February 7th, 2012 | by Allison Wallace

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Voluntourism: More Than Just a ‘Trend’

There is a growing demand from travellers of all ages to not only visit a particular place but to also find a deeper cultural connection. Voluntourism refers to trips people take abroad that combine travel to a destination with volunteering on projects that assist a local community.

Volunteering in the Philippines - Building Project

a Kaya Volunteer at the 'Build a Home' project in the Philippines

 

Flight Centre Acquires GoVoluntouring

On February 1st, Flight Centre acquired GoVoluntouring.com, an online website that connects travellers with meaningful vacation experiences. You can read more about it here.

Connecting Travellers With Meaningful Experiences

GoVoluntouring’s extensive database of vacation alternatives looks to make a difference one traveller at a time. An online community for volunteers, overseas teachers, and learners’ abroad, the website allows users to platform detailed searches from a huge database of projects and programs in approximately 60 countries. With thousands of programs to choose from, GoVoluntouring offers pre-checked charities and non-profits the chance to connect with the volunteers they desperately need, with no added cost to the user or the volunteer organization.

Why Voluntourism is Gaining in Popularity

Volunteering projects are as diverse as there are needs to fill. It is a chance to share, to learn, to pay forward, pay back and to enrich communities both locally and abroad. The result is a deep look at a different culture. There are amazing benefits for those interested in volunteering overseas. Not only is there a sense of fulfillment, which is hard to explain to those that haven’t gone yet, but there is also a deeper connection. It comes from learning, from meeting new people, sharing challenges, and knocking down the walls of prejudice and stereotypes. But don’t take our word for it, here’s what actual volunteers have to say…

Volunteers: In their own words

Leslie Osterloh & Bradley Godwin decided they wanted their honeymoon to be more fulfilling than just a holiday to a beach destination. Through GoVoluntouring they joined Kaya on an incredible Photography Expedition helping to promote social change in Thailand.

Kaya's first honeymooners on their Photography Expedition in Thailand

Leslie and Brad on their Photography Expedition in Thailand (Kaya Volunteer)

“I feel like all I’ve ever gotten from being a tourist were trinkets, trash and t-shirts. There is absolutely a difference in doing life with the locals versus walking right by them on the way to the beach. Remember life is about people and you remember experiences, conversations and people more than you remember your old t-shirts.” – Leslie Osterloh


Alana, a 24 year old Social Worker from Australia volunteered for two weeks at the Shelter for Sexually Abused Girls in the Phillipines. Here’s what she said being a volunteer versus just being a tourist meant to her:

“I enjoy volunteering more than being a tourist because…I need to see a culture, experience the people and be aware of the socio-political issues (such as crime, poverty and child protection issues). I believe I was able to work and relax which made the experience very rewarding.”

GVlogo

For more information visit www.govoluntouring.com or follow @govoluntouring on Twitter.

 

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About the Author

Allison Wallace

Allison Wallace is the Director of Media & Communications for Flight Centre Canada. She is a published author and photographer and her passion for travel has taken her to 65 countries on 6 continents worldwide.



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