Planeterra Launches First Ever Global Voluntourism Guidelines in Partnership with TIES

21 Sep 2012

The Planeterra Foundation, a non-profit organization established by adventure tour operator G Adventures, announced today the launch of the first ever International Voluntourism Guidelines.

Developed in conjunction with The International Ecotourism Society (TIES) and an international advisory committee, the guidelines were created in response to the growing interest in voluntourism worldwide among commercial tour operators and travellers alike. In an effort to identify a global ethical standard, the publication also addresses the needs of local people and their environments by collaborating with local community members.

The International Voluntourism Guidelines provide a practical tool to help tour operators plan and manage their programs in a responsible manner, and to contribute to the long‐term success of the voluntourism sector.

“Balancing the desire for travellers to make a difference in the communities they visit, and giving back to local peoples and environments to create a lasting positive impact requires a clear vision of the long-term objectives of the project, and a very good understanding of community needs, along with consistent monitoring of volunteer projects,” says Megan Epler Wood, Co‐Executive Director for Planeterra. “The challenge of transforming good intentions into tangible benefits and ensuring the community’s benefit is a priority for all those involved in voluntourism.”

The Voluntourism Guidelines cover a variety of topics including:

• Is Voluntourism Right for You?
• Communicating to Travellers about the WHY of Voluntourism Programs
• Selecting and Working with Volunteers
• Defining Success and Measuring Impact
• Transparency in Financial Reporting
• Transparency in Non‐Financial Reporting
• Benefits for Communities and Local Engagement
• Managing Social & Economic Impacts and Maximizing Benefits
• Supporting Biodiversity Conservation and Heritage Preservation

In addition the Voluntourism Guidelines include important insights into key challenges and opportunities for tour operators, through examples of voluntourism operators including G Adventures.

“We are thrilled to announce the new Voluntourism Guidelines with Planeterra and to share this comprehensive tool with our members around the world” says Dr. Kelly Bricker, TIES Chair. “Our aim is to positively contribute to the growing field of voluntourism by providing a practical tool for international voluntourism providers, and we believe that by collaborating with a diverse range of voluntourism practitioners and industry leaders, we’ve been able to gather and utilize some of the latest research, practical knowledge and applications in the field that will help voluntourism providers plan and manage their programs in a responsible and sustainable manner.”

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About the Planeterra Foundation
Established in 2003 by adventure travel tour operator G Adventures, Planeterra is a non‐profit organization that supports social and environmental solutions in destinations around the world via its global network of travellers. The foundation focuses on local education and health, small-business development, emergency relief and conservation work. For more information please visit

About TIES
The International Ecotourism Society (TIES) is a non‐profit association committed to promoting responsible tourism practices that benefit conservation and communities. Representing the voices of stakeholders from all corners of the world, TIES' global network supports and is supported by members from over 120 countries, who are leading the vital efforts to make travel and tourism more sustainable.