Royal Caribbean’s Voluntourism Trips – Jumping on the Bandwagon or Useful?

Royal Caribbean just put up a post about their new voluntourism trips – what do you think, genuinely useful volunteer projects that benefit all or are they simply jumping on the bandwagon?

“Voluntourism is a new and growing segment of travel and at Royal Caribbean International it manifests itself in several ways highlighting our commitment to the local communities we visit. We are just starting a program of voluntourism opportunities for our guests on Oasis of the Seas and if successful, will be expanded to other areas of need within the regions of our global deployment.”

Read the full post here.

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2 thoughts on “Royal Caribbean’s Voluntourism Trips – Jumping on the Bandwagon or Useful?

  1. I don’t necessarily want to denigrate something that appeals to people’s instincts to do more to help others in the world, but I can’t help but feel cynical about this. Royal Caribbean got a lot of bad press about one of their cruises stopping at the isolated port playground in Labadee right after the Haiti earthquake, so the motivation about this new voluntourism campaign to strikes me as a PR move rather than than about a genuine commitment to working with local communities. In fact, I have to roll my eyes at the statement that this highlights “our commitment to the local communities we visit”. While I can’t speak about their cruises in general, the bad press about Labadee was precisely because that cruise stop was about anything but immersion in and involvement with a local culture. In that case, at least, vacationing seemed to be about going to the nice pretty beaches that were separated from the rest of the country by barbed wire so that the rich could have their private playground while most of the impoverished people who actually lived in that country weren’t even allowed there (the exception being those lucky enough to be employed in the local hospitality industry).

    It seems like this idea of Royal Caribbean voluntourism is a case of little more than a company trying to cash in on a growing trend, and being rather cynical about it. In a sense, I think this dilutes the very concept of what volunteerism is about. I think there are a lot of wonderful non-profit organizations that do wonderful work with local communities and that are committed to bona fide involvement with the communities they serve. Vacationing on a beach playground that is walled off from the rest of the country is not my idea of community involvement. So I am afraid I am not impressed.

  2. Pingback: Cruise lines and voluntourism « Mike On Purpose

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