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61% of Volunteer Travel Operators Expect Sales to Rise in 2009

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Littleton, CO, May 6, 2009 – According to a recent survey completed by Lasso Communications, 61% of volunteer travel operators predict that their 2009 sales will exceed those of 2008. The purpose of the survey was to get an accurate pulse of the volunteer travel industry and the results show that the field is booming.

“Travelers have high interest in the kind of authentic, personal travel experiences available through volunteering, “comments Christina Heyniger of XOLA Consulting. “Add to this the stresses of the current financial environment and the desire to know travel expenditures have value beyond their immediate leisure benefits, and we see an excellent climate for volunteer tourism.”
Based on the 28 companies that participated in the survey, it was found that:
– 61% expect to send more volunteers abroad in 2009 than 2008
– 18% expect to send the same amount of volunteers in 2009 as in 2008
– 21% expect to send less volunteers abroad in 2009 than 2008

The total number of volunteers sent abroad from the US by these 28 companies was 20,089. The highest number of volunteers sent by one company was 3,400 and the smallest was 10.

Several of the companies that are down year on year have blamed bad strategic moves, poor
marketing or strategic shifts, as the reason for their lower numbers in 2009. The companies that are growing in 2009 tend to be the smaller to mid-size companies who find they are agile enough to adjust to the market’s demands and change their messaging to appeal to changing traveler motivations.

Of the 28 companies surveyed, the average number of countries offered per provider was 10, with Peru, Costa Rica and South Africa being the most popular countries. When grouped by continent, South America seems to be the leading continent of volunteer travel followed by Africa and Asia. The most popular volunteer activity for the majority of respondents was building and teaching, followed by community development and conservation.

The companies surveyed had to meet stringent criteria in order to obtain an accurate pulse of the industry. Travelers must pay to volunteer, the companies cannot be faith based, must have an office in the US and must offer travelers the chance to volunteer for 4 or more straight days. Research has been previously done on the total number of volunteers going abroad, but this is the first survey to get a specific indicator on the ‘pay to volunteer’ niche.

To read the full report visit:


Lasso Communications is a voluntourism consulting firm. At Lasso we try to further the volunteer travel field by helping companies with strategic decisions, marketing campaigns and research. Through the blog we seek to help the field share best practices and learn from each other. To learn more visit:, call 303-898-3376 or email [email protected]

Contributing members are responsible for the accuracy of content contributed to the Member News section of AdventureTravelNews.

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