Dossier Voluntourism

New Criteria for Voluntourism Projects in Southern Africa

While voluntourism has been gaining popularity, it has also come under increasing criticism. Fair Trade in Tourism has revised the criteria for tourism businesses with volunteer products, particularly those involving vulnerable people and wildlife interaction. As Manuel Bollmann reports, the new Fair Trade Tourism criteria do not allow for any physical interaction by tourists or volunteers with a range of captive animals. They also do not allow for tourists or volunteers to interact with any child or vulnerable person unless this takes place under continuous, qualified adult supervision. Though voluntourism may not help in terms of social service and nature conservation, it may create jobs and contribute to poverty alleviation. However, it may also reinforce a romanticised image of Africa and stereotypes of “needy Africans” in Germany and other voluntourism markets.