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Last September, the networking site LinkedIn added a feature that allowed its members to say whether they wanted to volunteer or serve on the board of a nonprofit. In just eight months, one million members raised their virtual hands.

But here’s the rub. LinkedIn has posted only about 1,000 listings seeking volunteers. That can’t begin to meet the demand from those on the site who are looking for ways to volunteer. In much of the nonprofit world, there are more volunteers than there are spots. Staff workers don’t have time to manage more volunteers. As one executive told me, “If I get another volunteer I am going to go out of business”. Aaron Hurst. Read more.

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This second White Paper, From Challenges to Solutions, maps water stress and scarcity in the Asia Pacific region against tourism water use. The paper reviews new evidence to better understand the key drivers for water utilization in hotels and where management action should be best focused.

Primary data on hotels are sourced from a survey of hotels operators together with benchmarking data drawn from the international EarthCheck Certification database. In addition, a comparison of municipal and tourism water use per person per day is undertaken to gain some understanding of the key issues associated with water equity and responsible water management at a destination level. By ‘EarthCheck Research Institute’. Read more.

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Eat, Stay, Buy Locally: Treading Lightly on the Road

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Between the intricate shrines of Angkor Wat, the diverse landscapes of the countryside and the kindness of its people — and despite the horrors of its recent history — Cambodia knocks a lot of people off their feet. It certainly had that effect on me when I first visited a few years ago and then again when I returned this winter. Yet it was impossible not to notice the school-age children begging barefoot at the major tourist sites, underage local women escorting Western men on sex tours, and the proliferation of seemingly unsustainable large-scale resorts being built on the pristine southern coast.

It’s a classic traveler’s question, one that is especially pronounced in developing or poor countries: Is your visit to a destination ultimately helping or hurting the place and its people? Is it possible to travel ethically in such places? By Ondine Cohane. Read more.

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With over 400 species of sharks inhabiting almost every aquatic ecosystem, divers and wildlife enthusiast are enjoying and paying good money to view sharks in their natural habitats. Operations to take tourists to view, dive or snorkel with sharks and rays are located across the globe.

A recent study found that shark tourism companies operate in 83 locations in 29 countries (Gallagher and Hammerschlag 2011).  Divers are very interested in seeing sharks alive and healthy in the ocean and are willing to pay a lot to see them (White 2008). In Fiji, Vianna et al. (2011) estimated that 78% of all divers visiting the country in 2010 engaged in shark-diving activities. By ‘Shark Savers’. Read more.

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Top 3 Consumer Trends Influencing Travel

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Emerging interest of consumers worldwide for a meaningful travel experience is gradually changing travel trends globally. The quest for a new experience while travelling that adds something substantial to ones’ life is the dominating trend of travelers at present times.  Trend consultant Daniel Levine states that today consumers are motivated to travel for two burning reasons: First is concern with the environment and second is the desire for time with family and friends. By ‘Hotel Resort Insider’. Read more.

Photo: Hotel Resort Insider

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Voluntourism is under fire. I know, because I have been a part of pointing out the unintended negative consequences of our good intentions for some time. Recently, blogs about “the problem of little white girls and boys” and other rants about voluntourism are starting to get more and more popular. But maybe it’s time to look further into this criticism. In a piece on his new Voluntourism Institute blog, David Clemmons recently released an article exploring the exploitation of voluntourism itself. It resonated with me, as over the last few months I have read a number of “anti-voluntourism” pieces that people have sent me thinking I’d love them, but instead they made me really worried that these arguments are moving off point. By Daniela Papi. Read more.

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The Sustainability Treehouse / Mithun

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The Sustainability Treehouse, a Living Building Challenge targeted interpretive and gathering facility situated in the forest at the Summit Bechtel Reserve, serves as a unique icon of camp adventure, environmental stewardship and innovative building design. Mithun led the integrated design process and a multidisciplinary team to achieve the engaging, high‐performance facility. By Arch Daily. Read more.

Photo: Joe Fletcher

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From the outside, the temporary shelter for Syrian civilians in Kilis, Turkey, doesn’t look like an inviting place to live. It looks like a prison. All around are olive groves, but here, Turkey suddenly runs out. A metal archway announces the customs gate to Syria. To its right stands what is more formally known as the Republic of Turkey Prime Ministry Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency’s Kilis Oncupinar Accommodation Facility. High gates bar entry, and barbed wire tops the walls. Police officers and private security mill about. By Mac McClelland. Read more.

Photo: Tobias Hutzler

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I was equally surprised, delighted and impressed that Mr. Ehlers introduced the term “Turismo Consciente” as the theme of our deliberations today because, quite independently of Mr. Ehlers, I put together the words “conscious” and “travel” in my own thoughts and writings just about two years ago. I had been developing a community – based program called Places That Care. Frustrated at the slow speed with which the tourism industry was adopting sustainable practices, I was looking for evidence that a market might exist for providers who took responsibility for protecting the natural and cultural environment on which they depended. I came across a significant body of international research – not in tourism, I might add – that showed how many consumers were responding to the fateful events of 2007 – 2008 when the global economy fell on its knees. The recession accelerated a shift that had begin in the late 70s in which a growing segment of the population had decided that “mindless consumption” wasn’t for them. A snippet from a report by Ogilvy and Mather jumped out at me:

 

It is an undeniable fact: The recession has created not only a universal sense of anxiety and fear, but a greater level of consciousness across all ages and genders. We can’t go back. We have heightened our perception; we are awake, aware and alert – whether we like it or not.

 

As I associate the state of being awake, aware and alert with being conscious, you can imagine my curiosity peaked upon discovering another research study, conducted quite independently, that described a new, post –recessionary consumer as being a Conscious Consumer. Not long after that, I was introduced to the groundbreaking work of some very successful business men and women (owners and senior executives of companies such as Whole Foods, Southwest Airlines, Amazon, Google, Patagonia etc) who were calling themselves “Conscious Capitalists” and I began to imagine what a “conscious traveler” might look like. I created the blog Conscious Travel to share these observations; to sense what reaction they evoked and to create a space where the concept could incubate and develop.

In my mind, the concept of Conscious Travel has three forms: by Anna Pollock. Read More.

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Vultures are often derided for being ugly and smelly, but these incredibly efficient scavengers help humanity by eating dead animals. And India has recently found just how crucial this role is to our well-being. By BBC. Read more.

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