CWS Limit: 6,500 - 7,000
By Alexa B. Fontanilla and Cristina A. Gadiano
WITH THE semestral break just around the corner, more and more people are seeking alternative ways to spend their holidays rather than the usual traveling around popular vacation hotspots.
A number of tourists, especially students, have been choosing to engage in more meaningful activities while enjoying the beauty of their chosen destinations. Such are tree planting and livelihood trainings that actually benefit rural communities.
This rapidly growing concept of traveling and helping out is tagged as “voluntourism”—an amalgam of volunteerism and tourism. The history of volunteerism and tourism combined can be traced back to 1951 through the works of Herb Feith, an Australian who volunteered as translator in Indonesia. Also, the foundation of United States Peace Corps in 1961 connected volunteering and tourism. Volunteers were sent abroad assigned to projects in different fields such as education, agriculture and health based on their skills and knowledge
However, the term “voluntourism” was coined by the Nevada Board of Tourism in 1998 to attract local residents to volunteer for the purpose of helping and supporting rural tourism in remote locations of Nevada.
In the local context
In the Philippines, some travel companies are also encouraging engagement in voluntourism trips. One example would be Kawil Tours, founded by Guido Sarreal (BS COMTECH ‘10) and partners Jun Tibi, Renlee Cubello and Elee Bulantano, which started out its advocacy of responsible travel in 2011.
Kawil Tours offers tour packages to Culion, an island located in Palawan that is still considered untouched, being a former leper colony during the American Commonwealth era. What sets Kawil Tours’ brand of tourism apart from the usual tours is the connection built within the community. Boat rides contribute to the income of local boatmen; partner families prepare meals served...