Tourism Concern Volunteering Conference
On Saturday 24th October 2015, the British charity Tourism Concern organises a conference on the pros and cons of volunteering travel. Volunteer Correct director Reinier Vriend is among the list of speakers who will engage the audience in a discussion on the issues of voluntourism and the ways to evade the pitfalls. The Tourism Concern Volunteering Conference is free of charge and open to anyone interested.
Tourism Concern states on their website:
“The desire to travel and experience new cultures around the planet is a good thing; equally people who volunteer overseas generally hope to do something interesting – that they’ll learn from and that will help other people.
There is no doubt that volunteering can be a rewarding and sometimes life-changing experience. It can also contribute something to the people in the place where you volunteer. However not all volunteering overseas benefits the host communities and some exploit the good intentions of well-meaning volunteers. Our conference will help prospective volunteers choose placements that bring real benefits to the destinations – and will provide them a rewarding experience – including questions to ask, issues to consider and marketing blurb to avoid.
Volunteering overseas is a often a once in a lifetime experience and volunteers often pay thousands of pounds to undertake a placement overseas. It is therefore essential for any prospective volunteer to find out as much as they can before signing up, otherwise they could have an unfulfilling and disappointing experience, or even cause harm.
There are some excellent organisations sending volunteers overseas and Tourism Concern is working with most of them via our Ethical Volunteering Group. These organisations aim to promote best practice in international volunteering, to maximise the beneficial developmental impacts in the communities where volunteering takes place, minimise the negative impacts, and to ensure volunteers have a worthwhile experience.
Our one day conference is aimed at prospective volunteers and those interested in ‘voluntourism’. The full day event includes discussion groups (including on motivations and expectations), presentations, films and the opportunity to speak to past volunteers and members of our Ethical Volunteering Group. The event is free to attend, although if you register and can’t attend please do let us know.”
The Tourism Concern Volunteering Conference will be held at Croydon Town Hall, East Croydon, which is a 11 min train journey from London Bridge. Direct trains from Kings Cross, Gatwick, Luton, Brighton, Victoria and London Bridge. The event is free of charge and open to anyone interested.