Ten trips that send volunteers to work in orphanages around the world have been dropped by Responsibletravel.com.
The tours have been temporarily removed while the company works with industry leaders to develop a set of “best practice” guidelines for trips that involve volunteering with children.
The company hopes that the independent nature of these guidelines will help sustain “exemplary operators” while removing those that may potentially tarnish the sector.
Managing director Justin Francis said: “It’s time to clean up this sector. Too often volunteer trips to orphanages are becoming part of the problem rather than part of the solution.
“After a great deal of thought, research and consultation we have taken the difficult decision to temporarily remove all volunteering trips to orphanages from responsibletravel.com whilst we work on a set of best practice guidelines for the sector.
“It is crucial that we only market volunteer trips in which we have 100% trust. As a community of responsible operators, we must be committed to leading the way and raising standards in this industry.”
With many students across the UK considering volunteer travel and gap year options as they await A-level results, the company is calling for travellers and the industry to join the debate at http://blog.responsibletravel.com/orphanage-tourism.