Global “voluntourism” industry sparks concerns among researchers, humanitarian organizations for lack of regulation and sustainability-mindedness
- One researcher indicates as many as 10 million are spending $2 billion each year to participate in service-oriented travel programs.
- With no regulatory agency setting quality standards for organizations, there is limited accountability for projects undertaken, which can include quality-sensitive work like construction projects, childcare, and education.
- Critics warn that the focus on altruism rather than skill can have negative economic impacts on destinations despite good intentions, with short-term, profit-driven solutions displacing long-term strategies for sustainable development.
“There’s this idea that is in-built in voluntourism that we in the West have the knowledge and the skills to make a difference, we have a right to make a difference. … It doesn’t even matter if we’re unskilled, it’s just the good will that matters because we’re somehow bonding anyway.”
Read the full story at the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
(Image Credit: Aly Song/Reuters)