Volunteer Tourism

Scholarly Works on Volunteer Tourism

Much of the information you will find on the web about volunteer tourism comes from commercial companies. These companies will only show volunteering in a positive light. On this page, we will bring you information from many legitimate sources regarding working for an overseas charity. Some information will shine a positive light on volunteering abroad, whilst some information will hopefully make it easier for you to consider your options. Volunteer tourism, or voluntourism, is an emerging trend of travel linked to “doing good”. Yet, these efforts to help people and the environment have come under heavy criticism – I believe for good reason.

volunteer tourism in Cambodia engages locals and charity workers with a purpose
Volunteering is worthwhile

What does Volunteering abroad add to the global economy

The Guardian in the UK has estimated that the 2,000,000 who volunteered in projects abroad (2016) contributed more than $US 1.8 trillion to the global economy. That is a huge number by any standards. It reflects our humanity to those who are less better off than us. Without volunteers, for whatever reason they want to work for a charity abroad, the impact is huge at a local level.

There is bad press about volunteer tourism

There is definitely some bad press about individuals working in charities abroad and in donor countries. However, it is the old journalism cliché of “if it bleeds it leads”. Would you rather hear about a pop singer who was charged with sexual abuse or a GAP year student who changed the life of a family by helping the understand the internet? Or hear about acharity worker who stole some cash versus the tens of thousands of volunteers who quietly go about helping those in need. There is only one way to find out and that is to become a volunteer.

Why should tourism and volunteer be in the same sentence?

Shouldn’t people volunteering abroad simply roll up their sleeves without enjoying themselves? A valid question and there are many volunteers in numerous charitable projects abroad who do this. And they are to be lauded for their commitment to humanity. However, a break from the nitty gritty of volunteer work ensures that you can experience the wonderful history and culture of some of the countries that need volunteers.  The cash that you invest into enjoying yourself is every bit as valuable as charitable donations. Locals appreciate and are proud being paid to be guides just as much as simply receiving donations.

Questions about volunteering abroad

Our FAQ page answers many of the questions you might have about volunteering and tourism. Our volunteering abroad blog is always stuffed with interesting, useful and sometimes humorous stories to keep the potential volunteer well informed. Our volunteering in Cambodia contains personal stories that will give you confidence to try voluntouring.