As resources and technology develop in the modern world, the tourism industry booms with opportunities of all kinds. As a tourism volunteer, you will have the opportunity to gain practical hands-on experience in connecting travelers to destinations. Volunteering in tourism presents a unique travel experience that allows you to give back while gaining professional experience.
Why Volunteer Abroad in Tourism
Volunteering in the tourism industry offers students new opportunities and challenges in a constantly evolving industry facing major reform. These reforms have created the need for partnerships beyond the traditional scope of the tourism industry. The diversity of the volunteer tourism industry allows you an opportunity to participate in unlikely short-term opportunities while abroad that can increase your cultural understanding, social awareness, and sense of global responsibility.
Where you decide to volunteer in tourism abroad is dependent upon your interests within the field, as the opportunities abound relative to each specific location. There are many great destinations around the world to volunteer in the tourism industry, such as Australia, Africa, Asia, and more!
Australia. Explore this rich, beautiful island off the southern coast of Australia, Tasmania, as you volunteer in a unique opportunity marketing and promoting tourism to the North American market. Explore the possibilities of social media outreach as you volunteer your services promoting Tasmania as a tourist destination to both domestic and international audiences.
South Africa. Most volunteer opportunities in South Africa take place in the beautiful capital of Cape Town, the country’s oldest city. This city boasts beautiful mountains, sprawling beaches, and a vibrant city life. Volunteering in Cape Town centers mostly around adventure projects, geared toward youth, focused primarily on swimming and surfing lessons.
Spain. Those individuals with a strong background in Spanish language can find many interesting volunteer tourism opportunities in Spain, such as hostel volunteering, and hotel management. Volunteer as a receptionist in a hostel and assist travellers and visitors from around the world. Choosing to lodge at the same place you volunteer offers individuals a convenient, time and money saving venture.
China. Engage in exciting volunteer hotel management and hospitality programs that will expose you to all different areas of the industry, especially in the city of Hong Kong. China, being such an integral international hub of business and commerce boasts an enormous amount of opportunities in the tourism field, and individuals seeking volunteer opportunities will find themselves with a bevy of options.
Types of tourism volunteer projects
Volunteer opportunities in tourism are quickly becoming one of the most popular forms of international travel. These projects however, should be carefully researched and planned in order to find an opportunity suitable to your specific needs; such as time, financial details, lodging, language requirements and more. Oftentimes, volunteers live with host families, so in addition to invaluable work, you will also experience total cultural immersion, something otherwise not possible as an average tourist.
Hospitality. Hospitality and travel go in hand in hand, so it’s not surprising that there are plenty of opportunities in this discipline under the umbrella of volunteer tourism. Volunteers can expect to work on improving the travel experience with your customer service skills in hotels, restaurants, spas, tours, and attractions, to name a few.
Eco-tourism. Volunteers with a passion for the environment can find a wealth of volunteer opportunities in tourism. Get involved with collecting data on animal species and assisting with ecological restoration in damaged areas. Look forward to also leading tours and educational activities.
Cultural Tourism. Volunteering in cultural tourism abroad, while being almost a self redundancy, can prove to be an extraordinarily rewarding path. Immerse yourself and others with the lifestyle, history, art and music of your destination while leading tours, providing outreach and education, even volunteering at museums and architectural landmark destinations.
Individuals will have the opportunity to work with other volunteers from around the world, further establishing their connections and personal network. Most volunteer opportunities are geared towards short-term commitments ranging from 2-4 weeks, however some opportunities do exist in a more long-term setting. It is also important to take note of any possible language requirements that might be a prerequisite to specific locations.
GoAbroad’s inside scoop for tourism volunteers
Volunteering abroad in tourism is your chance to experience some of the most incredible and diverse areas of the world, while making a difference in a community and learning important skills that will stay with you for life. Because the nature of the tourism industry covers such a vast expanse of opportunities and adventures, this is your opportunity to apply your skills, and form long-lasting memories in places many people will never get to travel. At the end of the day, you can feel assured that your work is helping make a real difference in these communities, and you can leave them, a stronger, more experienced person.