In September 2012 I set out for a year and a half long round the world trip during which I filmed and produced the documentary ‘The Voluntourist’ which looks at the negative impacts of ‘voluntourism’.
Voluntourism is the intersection of international volunteering and tourism, also called “volunteer tourism”, “volunteer holidays” and “volunteer travel”.
Most of the time it involves paying in order to ‘help’ a local community over a very short period of time (a few days to a few months). These trips range from construction work to childcare and often do not require volunteers to have any prior experience or skills.
This documentary does not aim to list all the possible negative impacts of poorly arranged international volunteering programs, but instead raises certain overarching questions through a series of interviews.
Media coverage & advocacy
Soon after its release, the film received interesting media coverage. It is now used as an educational and advocacy tool by various NGOs across the world.
It was screened at the French Assemblée Nationale (parliament) in July 2019 to support advocacy efforts to stop orphanage tourism/volunteering.
‘Dire non au tourisme en orphelinats’: Article on Anne Genetet’s website
‘Voyages humanitaires: gare aux arnaques du volontourisme’: Article in Wedemain
‘Ce que vous ignorez sur le business du volontariat à l’étranger’: Article in ELLE Belgium
‘Leurres et malheurs du volontourisme au Cambodge’: Article in Le Petit Journal Cambodge
Interview for TRT’s show The Newsmakers
‘Au Cambodge, l’inquiétante dérive d’une ONG au nom de la modernité’ : Article in Slate
Interview for the french TV show Envoyé Spécial : ‘Avec les meilleures intentions du monde’
Interview for Travindy
Link to ‘The Voluntourist’ added to the BBC website
Article in the Reddatore Sociale
‘The Voluntourist, a voluntourism short documentary’: Article by Volunteer Correct
‘How not to be a voluntourist’: Article in Qmunicate
New film: The Voluntourist: Article on Campus Compact
Blog post by Sally Herrington