Volunteer vacation sales up 28 percent


Due to the increase in job loss and an increasing number of graduates looking to volunteer before joining the work force, i-to-i has posted a year-on-year revenue increase of 28 percent, according to its sales figures for March 2009.

I-to-i offers volunteer vacations in 30 countries, with projects that include activities such as building, teaching, community development, and conservation efforts. They credit the increase in revenue with travelers’ need to find value in their vacations. If a traveler is going to spend money on taking a vacation during these tough economic times, it appears that travelers want to be sure that their experience is meaningful.

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“The recession has encouraged many people to volunteer and take some time away from all of the bad news. What we have seen is an increase in shorter volunteer trips in locations that are closer to home for Americans such as Latin America,” commented Jeff Krida, director of i-to-i North America. “Building projects in Latin America and Africa have seen an increase in participation numbers, while teaching in Asia is seeing a rapid decrease in interest.”

There has been a distinct increase in 22-30 year olds wanting to volunteer abroad – a mixture of recession fear and a new generation of travelers that want to give back when going abroad. This generation is also proving to be more web savvy than their predecessors. The majority of travelers are finding i-to-i’s volunteer programs online, placing heavy emphasis on Google searches, as well as travel sites such as GapYear.com, GoAbroad.com and ResponsibleTravel.com .