AdventureTravelNews

First-Ever Conference on Voluntourism Scheduled June 28 in Denver, CO

Volunteer working at a school in Thailand

Littleton, CO– Cause-related travel or voluntourism will be explored at the first annual Conference on Voluntourism June 28, 2011 in Denver, CO.

The goal is to discuss issues and best practices surrounding voluntourism by bringing together in one room those individuals and companies that pursue programs that interface their travel clients with such community concerns as healthcare, teaching, clean water, community development, construction and sustainability.

The organizer for the event is Alexia Nestora, a voluntourism industry visionary and consultant helping providers with strategy and monitoring of industry trends. Nestora is the author of the popular travel blog Voluntourism Gal and former head of the North American division of i-to-i, a leading voluntourism provider. She is an active member of the Building Bridges Coalition and the Adventure Travel Trade Association and has done volunteer work in Ecuador, South Africa, Thailand, Costa Rica, New Zealand and Switzerland. She now runs an international marketing company headquartered in Littleton, CO, called LASSO Communications.

“This is the first time there has been a conference held that focuses solely on voluntourism,” said Nestora. “I held a mini summit a couple years ago and it was a huge success so I decided to branch out into a bigger format. Voluntourism has historically been very competitive with everyone holding their cards close. The companies that commit to come to this conference are showing their willingness to move into an era of cooperation that in the end can only better serve the sometimes-at-risk and always needy populations where our collective projects are concentrated.

Voluntourist working in Thailand

By facilitating this conference Nestora hopes to encourage more partnerships and more dialogue in an industry that she says “right now it is very siloed. I would love as a result of this to know that when tour operators face a challenge they pick up the phone and call a colleague for advice.”

The conference will also be an opportunity to update a State of the Volunteer Industry Survey accomplished by Nestora in 2009.

See: http://voluntourismgal.files.wordpress.com/2009/05/state-of-the-volunteer-travel-industry-20093.pdf.

The day-long event will run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Cambria Suites Denver Airport Hotel. Registration fee is $100 per person inclusive of reception, meeting and lunch. A special lodging rate has also been secured at the Cambria Suites for $109 per night for a king suite. Participants are asked to refer to “Voluntourism Group” when booking at Cambria Suites.

For details and to register please email [email protected] or call (303) 898-3376.

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