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'Voluntourism' a growing holiday niche


Tasmanian tourism operators are being encouraged to take advantage of the growing volunteer tourism, or ‘voluntourism’, niche market. 

The Minister for Tourism, Scott Bacon, said Tourism Tasmania and the Parks and Wildlife Service will be holding free tourism industry seminars in Hobart and Launceston this month to show local operators how they can capitalise on this section of the market.

“Combining aspects of volunteer work with tourism is proving to be an exciting niche market that Tasmania is well-placed to take advantage of,” he said.

“Voluntourists tend to come from all walks of life, but they’re united by the desire to do something good while travelling to new places.

“Last year, Tourism Tasmania worked with Parks and Wildlife and local commercial operators on a pilot program called Green Guardians, which introduced volunteer activities in the state’s national parks and reserves for tourists.

“Through Green Guardians, tourists were able to go through parks and reserves on guided trips, while also getting involved in conservation projects such as wildlife surveys, clearing marine debris, eradicating coastal weeds or monitoring the sustainability of walking tracks.

“The program effectively enabled people to experience our spectacular parks while, at the same time, making a tangible difference to their protection and management.”

Mr Bacon said Tasmania was well-placed to take advantage of the volunteer tourism market.

“Recent market research confirmed that our coastal, wilderness and heritage experiences are key motivators for people to holiday in Tasmania, so it is only natural that we explore the use of these assets to capitalise on this growing travel niche,” he said.

“Nowadays, more of our visitors want to experience the best of the state while also having a positive impact on our unique environment.

“Experiences like those offered through Green Guardians can help tourists form deep and enduring connections to these places, in many cases leading to return trips.”

Mr Bacon said the free seminars would be held on Tuesday August 23 at the Wrest Point Conference Centre in Hobart, and on Wednesday August 24 at the Tailrace Centre in Launceston.

Tourism operators interested in taking part can get more details and registration information from Tourism Tasmania, by calling 6230 8123, or visiting www.tourismtasmania.com.au/calendar