Volunteer tourism or “voluntourism” is a growing niche in the travel industry. A 2008 survey by MSNBC and Condé Nast Traveler found that 20 percent of respondents had taken at least one volunteer vacation and 62 percent of those who hadn’t said they were likely to take one. According to a recent members-only survey conducting by the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA), 55 percent of the responding tour operators currently run volunteer trips and nearly half of the remaining 45 percent are considering offering them in the future. Translation: Travelers are no longer content with sightseeing. They want to be immersed in local culture. And most importantly, it seems, they want to give back to the communities they’re visiting.
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