‘Voluntourism the way out of poverty’
Globally volunteer tourism is on the rise. This is a satisfying vacation, which gives a tourist an opportunity to get closer to nature and social ways of life of the local people in a given setting/area with the aim of improving their livelihood through voluntary work.
Travel is simply a leisure activity for many people but there is a need for a fulfilling experience with tourists seeking to make their holidays more meaningful by volunteering for social services at their destinations and at the end of the vacation, parties in the cycle have all benefited and the tourist expenditure is on increase. Do we need to look any further on how tourists should spend more of their dollars while in Uganda? Just asking! I think tour operators should add volunteer projects on their websites and introduce them in different villages.
I will borrow some of the words from ‘Travel Uganda magazine where prominent stakeholders like Denis of Msafiri tours, Amos Wekesa, John Sseempembwa Dereck Joubert and others all gave their opinion about the same concept 4years back. Denis said he receives requests from 500-2000 people from Asia & Europe for volunteer tourism in E. Africa yearly and that was 4-5years back but I believe now the numbers might have doubled.
Volunteers are mostly looking forward to doing work in education, childcare, community development and healthcare because they hold different professionals. Most foreigners opting for volunteer tourism have long stay plans hence increased expenditure, benefits of volunteer tourism are direct, and they sparkle in the open.
We should always think beyond boundaries towards the growth of our industry and put more efforts in creativity, source out groups that have resources to share with our people. Voluntourism is the form of tourism, which directly caters for the needs of the local people. This gives a tourist an opportunity to traverse and see Uganda at its best as they go into communities, work and live with them, hear their stories and share skills.
As I said, tourism is every body’s business right from the local communities up to the gov’t but we should look for those hosts in abject poverty and launch developmental projects. I can spend a day talking about “Voluntourism” but I have a lot to talk about tourism in general. Let’s share ideas and learn from each other.