National Volunteer Week celebrates the impact volunteers have on building stronger, more resilient communities. In the hospitality world, responsible travel or voluntourism (a combination of volunteering and tourism) are becoming increasingly popular, so catering to this travel trend is an all-around win. The community thrives, guests get involved in an authentic “local” experience and the hotel benefits by building greater customer loyalty.
After all, research shows that guests want to stay at hotels that are socially responsible, and 85% of Americans say they would switch brands to one associated with a cause.
To celebrate #NationalVolunteerWeek, we’re showcasing 5 Caribbean resorts that make a positive impact in their destination.
Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort, Aruba
Aruba has struggled with overpopulation of dogs and cats, and unfortunately, many die of starvation and disease or are euthanized. Bucuti offers a program that assists pet-loving guests in adopting animals in need of a loving home. Bucuti covers the costs of any necessary veterinary services, medication and the documentation, as well as a kennel for transport of the animal to his new home.
Jamaica Inn, Jamaica
This iconic hotel established its own non-profit organization, The Jamaica Inn Foundation, to aid marine life preservation and support to island youth. The Foundation partners with Debate Mate, an international charity dedicated to improving social mobility using cost-effective, peer-to-peer debate mentoring. Several local community schools participate and have found it to be a life-changing experience for students. Debate Mate molds students who, at the beginning of the program, cannot read or write, and by the end, are debating in competitions.
Nisbet Plantation Beach Club, Nevis
For decades, Nisbet Plantation and its guests have been supporting the island school system. Vacationers bring much-needed books and school supplies from home to be given to local primary schools. Guests can leave their donations at the resort, or opt to hand-deliver them to the nearby school where they’ll be greeted with welcoming songs, friendly faces and lots of hugs. With the help of guests and donations, Nevis maintains a 98% literacy rate.
photo: Tina Thuell Photography
The Somerset, Turks & Caicos
This luxury resort partners with the ExtraOrdinary Minds — Ashley Learning Centre, a local non-profit institution to nurture and develop young children with mild to severe disabilities. The Somerset on Grace Bay has partnered with this non-profit organization to help bring awareness and support those in need on Providenciales. The General Manager is personally involved and hand-delivers guest donations – a gesture that adds a personal touch to the mission.
Young Island, St. Vincent & The Grenadines
Ninety percent of the world’s population has access to only 10 percent of the world’s health resources. In St. Vincent & The Grenadines, this statistic holds true and it’s challenging for local children to receive quality, critical-care health services. Fortunately, World Pediatric Project (WPP) provides diagnostic and surgical care to those who wouldn’t otherwise have access to specialized pediatric care. The center in St. Vincent & The Grenadines welcomes patients from throughout the Caribbean and doctors from North America. Young Island hosts those medical professionals, and its guests often bring donations for children receiving treatments.
photo: World Pediatric Project
Volunteers can make a tremendous impact in your local community or travel destination. At MP&A Digital, we also have a strong belief in giving back to the area where we live. For eight years, we’ve volunteered our services for Dream Catchers, a non-profit organization that provides more than 120 therapeutic riding lessons each week to help children and adults with special needs reach their potential and make dreams come true.
If your hotel has a unique volunteer program, let us know and we may feature it in an upcoming post. Happy National Volunteer Week!