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Is Voluntourism Really A Compromised Industry?

On 24 November, cnngo.com ran an article by Richard Stupart entitled " Voluntourism does more harm than good."  The tag line read, "Orphan-huggers create a market for orphans; well-builders take work from locals; and other things ethical travelers should know." I'm going to approach Mr. Stupart's article from two perspectives: He's right. But the focus really should be on "The result has been a boom in tour companies offering voluntourism opportunities in a wide range of destinations, catering to all levels of commitment." I have noticed that everyone is cashing in on Voluntourism (including the press) and I wish some great writer out there would do an article on the damage THAT causes.  Bugger the "goodie-two-shoes" articles. Those people are just there and will insert themselves into a situation abroad and at home because they simply have nothing else to do.  Resorts, cruise lines and hotels offer 2-3 hour voluntourism projects and call it sustainable tourism. Mr. Stupart sums it up nicely and as accurately as I've ever seen it put.  "There can be no easy decisions when attempting to weigh up how to volunteer, or whether to volunteer at all.  Nevertheless, there is a world of difference between ill-considered decisions taken for the purpose of stroking a traveler's ego, and subjective decisions to volunteer after properly considering as much of the moral and practical detail of your engagement as possible." For quite sometime, GeoVisions has provided a document, "Where Does My Money Go" in answer to that exact question by some of our volunteers.  And on many of our program pages, we actually provide a list of items that get paid with a volunteer's money.  This activity came with trying to be "all things transparent." How wonderful would it be if all of the responsible voluntourism providers (really, there are a few) wrote their own document explaining why volunteers participate on their projects and precisely (measured objectively) what good comes from it. How will your work be more beneficial than sending money? If you and your friends invested money in a project abroad (after doing research and interviewing project directors), would that be more sustainable? On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the highest, how much of wanting to go abroad is all about your ego?  Or that you had horrible parents? Why aren't you voluntouring in your own country? Why are you taking a tax deduction on volunteering abroad? Why aren't you spending money in your own country, and giving up the tax deduction to pay your fair share? How much research did you do about where you're going and why you should even be there? Those are questions we have been asking ourselves here at GeoVisions over the last year.  And what are the answers? 
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Tax Deductibility and Voluntourism – It Should Go...For Now!

on Tue, Oct 13, 2009 By | Randy LeGrant | 0 Comments | Why Do I Have To Pay To Volunteer Tax Deductions
Yesterday I reposted from various Blog sites on deducting your voluntourism program from your taxes.  The question was, "Tax Deductibility and Voluntourism-Should It Stay Or Should It Go." Today I'm making a case against tax deductibility and voluntourism in my own Blog.  It Should Go.  At least for now. I don't want to rant, so I'm providing you 2 sources with independent links to use to evaluate on your own where you are volunteering and how you are spending your money.  Because if anyone is telling you that you can deduct the program fees or your trip because you're volunteering, they are leading you down the wrong path and setting you up for an unhappy financial outcome, should you be audited by the IRS.
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Tax Deductibility and Voluntourism – Should it Stay or Should it Go?

on Mon, Oct 12, 2009 By | Randy LeGrant | 0 Comments | Why Do I Have To Pay To Volunteer Tax Deductions
Industry watch person and consultant, Alexia Nestora of Lasso Communications posted a blog post by Journey Etc. last week about declaring a tax deduction for a volunteer vacation.
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