Giving Back: Incentive Travel Voluntourism


I’ve recently provided some insight on incentive travel basics and its potential to motivate, including key ways in which employers, business owners and employees benefit.  What is becoming increasingly more popular about incentive travel is its ability to positively affect people outside of the company implementing the program.


More frequently than ever, people are using incentive travel as an opportunity to not only motivate staff and enjoy impressive ROI…but to encourage social responsibility and promote cultural awareness.


Giving Back

While the idea behind voluntourism is simple, the effects can be powerful and life-changing.  The basic idea is that trip attendees volunteer their time and services to charitable causes.  This enables travelers to give back to the communities in which they are staying, broaden their knowledge of the world and take an active part in making it a better place.


…powerful tool for employers looking to elevate staff performance and encourage philanthropic action.

Incentive travel voluntourism presents a perfect opportunity for relationship and team building and offers those involved the chance to gain new perspective.  Through these programs, participants are both rewarded for excellent performance and provided with authentic experiences that immerse them in new cultures and enable them to make a difference.  Whether assisting at a wildlife conservation, building beehives for a farmer’s association or getting their hands dirty renovating a school building, they’re temporarily stepping away from the resort and into the lives of those in need.


Raising Awareness

An increasing number of companies around the world are making great efforts to educate travelers about voluntourism.  In fact, many have remarkable programs in place that have been key in raising awareness and sending travelers all over the world to experience voluntourism for themselves.


One such company, Absolute Travel, has had incredible success with their philanthropic arm, Absolute Awareness.  In addition, they offer Philanthropic Experiences, which highlights ways that travelers can weave organizations’ missions into their trips and customize them to their interests and schedule.


President and founder Ken Fish recently shared his thoughts on voluntourism:

“We are on the front lines of experiential travel and recognize the responsibility tourism has in protecting the destinations we love around the world. Absolute Awareness enables us to connect our clients with powerful experiences—on the ground—when they are the most relevant. That not only enriches our clients’ journeys, but also protects the places and people we care about most effectively.”



Offering everything from half-day gorilla treks alongside distinguished conservation experts in Uganda to 7-day trips alongside leaders of the global justice movement in Cambodia, it’s no surprise that this program resonates with clients.


Also offering great insight is Absolute Awareness creator Katie Losey:

“Absolute Travel has a very smart approach to responsible tourism. We weave together our signature private luxury journeys and protecting the planet. Through our Absolute Awareness program, we are preserving the world’s most beautiful destinations simply by providing travelers with meaningful experiences on the ground. We appreciate how transformative these experiences are for us, and understand firsthand how they deepen our clients’ connections to a destination, its people and their fellow travelers. What we are really doing is inspiring people to care—we recognize there is nothing more powerful than a personal experience to do that.”


Employers who implement incentive travel voluntourism programs quickly come to recognize the benefits.  They are rewarding employees for exceptional performance, creating amazing travel experiences that will keep them motivated over the long-term and inspiring them to give a little something back.


Volunteer travel, as an incentive, stays with participants and continues to serve as a source of motivation and inspiration.  Employees appreciate this type of opportunity and will work hard to earn it.  After attending one of these trips, or hearing about one from those who have, they are all the more likely to strive year round for top performer status.  This makes for a powerful tool for employers looking to elevate staff performance and encourage philanthropic action.  These are life-changing experiences that will not soon be forgotten.


What incentive travel voluntourism opportunities would be in line with your company’s mission?  What experiences would you like to learn more about?

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