Voluntourism is a form of tourism in which travelers participate in voluntary work, typically for a charity.
No one doubts the goodwill of tourists who are surprised by a weather phenomenon or a disaster that harms many people and assume the task of helping. However, some experts in the world tourism industry say that when that behavior ceases to be spontaneous and becomes commercially organized and massive then there are pros and cons.
The main purpose of the modality is to collaborate or even help a local community, but some people could proclaim that it has a dual purpose, to help and to make tourism.
That way of looking at the voluntourism can complicate it. Agencies are driven by profit, and could work to meet the demands of the volunteer rather than charity. The diverse interpretations make that some specialists recommend that if voluntourism is an organized modality on a massive scale, it must have rules.
One of those rules can be boost the help to communities over the desire to travel. But it should not be forgotten however that voluntourism is not just work. Not all the time. It also means fun.
Not long ago in Paradise, a place that bears his name very well in St Croix, an island in the Caribbean Sea, and a county and constituent district of the United States Virgin Islands a group of about 25 cruise ship passengers were having the time of their lives pulling storm debris out of Brewers Bay and off its beach and logging the types of items they found.
A St Croix publication described that after three hours of that fun, they were divided up into three groups and really got down to business. “Some waded or swam and measured seedlings in the mangroves; some assembled “coral trees” consisting of coral attached to PVC pipes; others dove down in relatively shallow water to reattach buoys that were torn off moorings by the 2017 hurricanes” the press article revealed.
So they combined help with fun.
These volunteers were not drawn from local schools or organizations, but from the ranks of visitors. It represented a growing trend – voluntourism.
Last year Hurricanes Irma and Maria devastated several Caribbean islands and essentially collapsed the traditional tourism industry, at least for many months. According to Hotel and Tourism Association digital site, post hurricane voluntourism engagement in the Caribbean.
Roslyn Parker from Affinity Travel Group wrote in the site that while the world watched the events of the recent hurricane season unfold on television and social media, there was a natural inclination to want to help.
“This is an innate human response to circumstances that are often beyond our control. People want to do something, whether it fits well with the reality of the context or not”, Mrs Parker added.