Alexia Nestora, aka “Voluntourism Gal”, recently put up a post called “Why Adventure Travel Companies Fail with Voluntourism”. It has generated a lot of feedback and discussion.
I wanted to pass it on here and encourage others to join in the discussion: http://voluntourismgal.wordpress.com/2010/01/06/why-adventure-companies-fail-with-voluntourism/
I would argue that this list is missing the main point of why some adventure companies, and others, “fail” at voluntourism.
#1) They are used to thinking of their guests as their only customers.
All 5 of these points relate to how the company treats the potential traveler and how the traveler perceives the company. Adventure travel companies and others will continue to do poor work in this sector if they continue to only focus on the relationship between the company and the traveler. Many adventure companies have little to no contact with the communities and programs in the areas where their tours are located and instead leave those connections to their guides. Those companies are forgetting that their follow up, monitoring, and impact assessment, when doing any type of philanthropic or community based travel, is no longer just about surveying their client base but also about understanding the needs, educational potential, and relationship with the communities in which they work. That takes time invested in the communities they claim to be “serving”, not just in finding the best adventures, and often that is overlooked.