Need a break? Fair trade tourism comes to Croydon


By - Tuesday 21st October, 2014

An all day conference is being held in Croydon for anyone considering a gap year abroad to volunteer on development projects. The conference is focused on fair trade tourism and will be held on Saturday 25th October at the Braithwaite Hall.


Release begins: A full day conference has been organised in Croydon to give interested volunteers information on overseas development projects and the practices behind them.

The event will take place at the Braithwaite Hall in Croydon on October 25 and is aimed at anyone interested in volunteering overseas of considering a gap year.

The International Volunteering Conference, is being hosted by Tourism Concern, Europe’s leading charity campaigning for ethical and fair trade tourism, will focus on a particular kind of tourism that allows people to volunteer for development or environmental projects overseas.

Despite being praised for the benefits that it brings to the areas involved, voluntourism has sometimes being criticised, as instead of helping the community the practice can result in jobs being snatched from locals.

Mark Watson, executive director of Tourism Concern stated, “*The desire to travel and experience new cultures around the globe is commendable, as is the desire to volunteer, however it is debatable whether many volunteering opportunities bring real benefits to host communities and many exploit the good intentions of well-meaning volunteers.*

*“The conference is for anyone interested in these issues and we will explore the motivations of wanting to volunteer overseas, alternatives to volunteering oversea, for instance volunteering at home and travelling ethically overseas,” *he explained.

*“Volunteers also need to be realistic in what they can offer and appreciate that however well meaning many volunteering placements result in more harm than good. The afternoon will look at how to choose an ethical volunteering placement overseas, listen to how best practice projects are put together and finish with the serious issue of volunteering with vulnerable children*.”

Another controversial point relates to volunteering with children and so-called orphanage tourism, which Tourism Concern is campaigning against as it fuels the need for orphans and in some countries children are literally being stolen from their parents by orphanages which are being run as a business.

Ethical volunteering organisations will be available during the conference to provide more information on individual projects. The event will take place on October 25 at the Braithwaite Hall in Croydon, South London. Those interested can register online.

Release ends.

Release sender: Tourism Concern

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