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The International Ecotourism Society (TIES)
Conservation, Communities and Sustainable Travel
Conservation, Communities and Sustainable Travel

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For more than two weeks, a clutch of passionate travelers, consultants and operators has used an Outbounding discussion page for a frank and remarkably rich exchange about responsibility and voluntourism. This Hangout on Air is an extension and expansion of that discussion.   

You can visit the discussion page at

* +Sallie Grayson, Program Director of people and places
* +Anna McKeon, Independent Consultant for Better Volunteering, Better Care
* +Shannon O'Donnell, Founder of +A Little Adrift and
* +Amy E. Robertson, Author of 'Moon Volunteer Vacations in Latin America' (Moon Travel Guides); Contributing Editor of +Transitions Abroad
* +Ethan Gelber, Co-founder of (co-moderator) 
* additional participants may be announced

The complex and broad range of issues raised in the Outbounding discussion has sparked an incredible volume of reactions. A recent tweet even identified the forum as "probably the best volunteer voluntourism discussion online - ever."

But it hasn't just been a continuation of the sometimes superficial scrutiny and overly generalized criticism under which volunteer travel has recently come. Instead, there's an emphasis on solutions, shared responsibility and shared benefits through informed and transparent consultation. 

Who's in that shared space? Consumers, sending and receiving volunteer organizations and, especially, local communities. There is a role to play for everyone in the process of driving positive change in and through voluntourism. But how can we bring it about? What is the minimum due diligence required for different players? How can we work together to improve: 

Responsibility in voluntourism: How can we get the message out about voluntourist responsibility? Whose responsibility is it to ensure volunteer travel is responsible?

Volunteer skill levels: Do volunteers have adequate time and skills to create positive impact? Can unskilled volunteers ever be of service?

Transparency: What is the relationship between volunteer placement companies and their projects? Do they vet volunteers for the skills a project needs? Have they built the project with local communities, when appropriate?

Voluntourism with children: What resources and support do volunteer organizations need in order to improve how they manage situations involving volunteers and children?

These are just some of the topics likely to be broached during this Google+ Hangout on Air. We hope you will join us and the following panelists, most of them major contributors to the Outbounding discussion and leaders in the voluntourism space. 

cc: +Matthew Barker +Sonja Holverson +I&I Travel Media +The Travel Word  #volunteer   #volunteering   #volunteerabroad   #volunteerism   #voluntourism
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Had a great time at #ESTC14 in #Bonito!  It didn't hurt that we got to hang out with these guys...
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Can you see the wood for the trees in your supply chain?
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Want to share your #ecotourism research at the #ESTC13 this September in Nairobi, Kenya? Limited space still available for poster presentations - learn more:

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Free Webinar by Society of Outdoor Recreation Professionals: "Collaboration and Public Participation in Outdoor Recreation Planning: Emerging Design and Strategy" (Wednesday, July 31st at 1:00 pm EDT)

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"As tourism continues to grow globally, with less and less of the planet remaining 'untouched', we need graduates who have both the social and physical science skills to understand the impacts of the industry. But the good news is with better standards of education in the industry, we can reduce or even remove many of the negative impacts." - Dr. Tony Johnston, a Lecturer in #Ecotourism at the University of Derby

University of Derby Buxton is launching a new degree program in ecotourism.

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Interested in ways to improve your business' environmental and social practices? Learn about Travelife, an online management system to help businesses with their #sustainability efforts and to promote their work to a global audience.

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Support the Black Sea Sustainable Rural Tourism Program by joining the Green Unite challenge! #crowdfunding  

100 Members! Thank you everyone for joining, sharing and participating in this great community!
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