The Planeterra Foundation, a non-profit organization established by adventure tour operator G Adventures, announced today the launch of the first everInternational Voluntourism Guidelines.
Developed in conjunction with The International Ecotourism Society (TIES) and an international advisory committee, the guidelines were created in response to the growing interest in voluntourism worldwide among commercial tour operators and travellers alike. In an effort to identify a global ethical standard, the publication also addresses the needs of local people and their environments by collaborating with local community members.
The International Voluntourism Guidelines provide a practical tool to help tour operators plan and manage their programs in a responsible manner, and to contribute to the long‐term success of the voluntourism sector.
“Balancing the desire for travellers to make a difference in the communities they visit, and giving back to local peoples and environments to create a lasting positive impact requires a clear vision of the long-term objectives of the project, and a very good understanding of community needs, along with consistent monitoring of volunteer projects,” says Megan Epler Wood, Co‐Executive Director for Planeterra. “The challenge of transforming good intentions into tangible benefits and ensuring the community’s benefit is a priority for all those involved in voluntourism.”
The Voluntourism Guidelines cover a variety of topics including:
· Is Voluntourism Right for You?
· Communicating to Travellers about the WHY of Voluntourism Programs
· Selecting and Working with Volunteers
· Defining Success and Measuring Impact
· Transparency in Financial Reporting
· Transparency in Non‐Financial Reporting
· Benefits for Communities and Local Engagement
· Managing Social & Economic Impacts and Maximizing Benefits
· Supporting Biodiversity Conservation and Heritage Preservation
In addition the Voluntourism Guidelines include important insights into key challenges and opportunities for tour operators, through examples of voluntourism operators including G Adventures.
“We are thrilled to announce the new Voluntourism Guidelines with Planeterra and to share this comprehensive tool with our members around the world” says Dr. Kelly Bricker, TIES Chair. “Our aim is to positively contribute to the growing field of voluntourism by providing a practical tool for international voluntourism providers, and we believe that by collaborating with a diverse range of voluntourism.