Monday, April 14, 2008

Global voluntourism heating up

For the past two years, my family has traveled down to New Orleans in an act of voluntourism that is more than admirable in my eyes. As it turns out, there are many, many travelers interested in lending a helping hand while scoping out the sights and sounds of hot global destinations. Which spots rank top?

In a recent poll of over 1,400 U.S. adults, the following were most desired as voluntourism destinations:

  1. Africa (17%)
  2. East Asia (12%)
  3. South America (9%)
  4. Mexico (8%)

  5. Western Europe (8%)

  6. Eastern Europe (7%)

  7. Central America (6%)

  8. Pacific Islands (5%)

  9. Australia (4%)

  10. Middle East (3%)

What do you think? My vote is currently with Central America since I'd love some one-on-one time with those sloths and parrots.

An interesting finding worth noting is the fact that age is a major determining factor in time available for volunteering. Twenty-nine percent of Gen Xers opted for one week trips, while a lesser 23 percent of Baby Boomers voted for a one-week stay. Retirees, and Generation Y, however, opted for many weeks or an entire summer trip.

It's easy to understand... many Generation Yers are in college with time to spare, while retirees also have less work commitments than working Boomers or Gen X. As corporate advocacy catches on allowing paid leaves for international voluntourism (as some companies already promote), perhaps we'll see these statistics change.


Vanessa said...

Hi Jessica,

I'm currently a student working on my dissertation about voluntourism and have encounter your blog when I am doing my research. I have a couple of questions and would hope that you could give some feedback.

My topic of dissertation is Voluntourism: A New Form of Tourism? I have 3 research questions that I aim to achieve.

i) Is volunteering and tourism an effective combination? How?
ii) What are the motivation factors that drive volunteer vacationers to perform voluntourism while on vacation?
iii) What is the potential growth of voluntourism in the tourism industry?

Looking forward for your reply.
Many thanks!

Jessica Blair said...


Give me a shout by e-mailing I'll respond with my answers!


Rebeca said...

i would like to vote also Central America.

Jodi said...

Hi, I just came across your terrific blog!

I am going to volunteer in India for a year come October! I came across a ton of voluntour companies, but in the end found the organization through that way you know they are legitimate and really need help.

I am so excited to be going and will be interning and volunteering for Drishtee. ( I will be working on micro-finance, education, women's empowerment, and accessible healthcare projects. I'd love it if you spread the word about my project ( as I'm currently fundraising. Any exposure would be absolutely amazing!

Journey Mexico said...

Glad to see Mexico is Top 5! We just did a post on it in Mexico, check it out:

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