This is an interesting article from Green Futures magazine, published by Forum for the Future, who work in partnership with TUI Travel, owners of i-to-i and Real Gap on sustainability issues.
The article includes comments from a Product Manager from Real Gap about how they work in partnership with host organisations to ensure their volunteering programmes benefit local communities and review feedback from people on the ground to monitor this.
It also highlights the ABTA working group for travel companies who run volunteer tourism projects which aims to understand the issues around volunteer tourism and develop guidelines for tour operators to ensure they are benefiting local communities. It is positive to hear that this working group is moving forward, although there are other issues around the practices of some of the more commerical companies, as mentioned in my previous post, that also need addressing. The hope is that the involvement of ABTA and partnerships with independent organisations like Forum to the Future and Tourism Concern, along with the media interest in “voluntourism”, could ultimately help to bring improvements across the whole volunteering sector.