Thursday, October 2, 2008

Oxymoron: Luxurious Philanthropic Travel?

I got an email this morning from Twitter informing me that "Philanthropic" is now following me. [I could go on and on about Twitter for those of you who don't know about it or use it, but that would be more then a little far afield for this blog.]

Of course I checked out their Twitter page which led me to the organization's website. I'm more then a little befuddled reading philanthropic travel described as "exquisite" and "luxurious." The home page even invokes the ever-popular serial reciprocity: "Philanthropic Travelers create a chain reaction of 'pay it forward,' goodwill that unlocks powerful community development and gratitude."

I'm curious to hear what others think: is philanthropic travel (a.k.a "voluntourism") really "a catalyst for a Peaceful, Prosperous, and Friendly World"? And if so, how would you even begin to measure that??

P.S. if I had thought about it a year ago, I should have proposed to go on one of these tours for "thesis research" to invterview participants and create some kind of metrics for measuring impact. Ah, too late now. To Fargo instead. :)

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