What is voluntourism?
Voluntourism is experiencing somewhere new while you volunteer at the destination. You could be helping out at a school, an orphanage, helping to build structures or even helping wildlife at a sanctuary. It is a great way to see a new place from the perspective of a local and will allow you to meet many new friends!
The good things:
- Positively contributing to an organisation or location
- Meeting new people
- Life/ career experience
- Living like a local, not a tourist
- You have more time at the location than you would have if you were visiting
Things to ask yourself before you volunteer:
- Am I actually going to make a positive contribution to the community or environment?
- What are the ethics or morals of the place I wish to volunteer in?
- Will they be exploiting me or my values?
- What is the cost of working here?
- Is it a big business or a small organisation? Which would I rather contribute to?
It is almost impossible to find big cat sanctuaries that don’t contribute to canned hunting so here are a few that are Heroic Tourism approved!
Here are some amazing elephant sanctuaries too!
- Elephant Nature Park, Thailand
- Elephant Valley Project, Cambodia
- Elephant Jungle Sanctuary, Thailand
The most highly rated volunteer sanctuary for animals in tourism is:
- Wildlife Friends Foundation of Thailand, Thailand