The Stream

Selfies or Selfless: The politics of volunteer tourism

How can international volunteers turn a multi-billion industry into a sustainable force for good?

Nepal’s earthquake has renewed interest in international volunteer tourism as good samaritans line up to help. It’s one of many “voluntourism” opportunities that let people pay big money to experience a different culture and do good. But is the multi-billion-dollar industry serving the host communities as much as the volunteers? At 19:30 GMT, The Stream asks what responsible voluntourism looks like.

On this episode of The Stream, we speak to:

Daniela Papi-Thornton @danielapapi
Founder, Learning Service

Tyler Andrews @STRIVETrips
Director, Strive Trips

Rachel Scott @rachelvscott
Student, University of Southern California  

Jingting “Lily” Kang @LilyKang27
Student, University of Notre Dame

What do you think? How can international volunteers serve communities without exploiting them? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.