The voluntourism sector in the U.S. received a fairly significant boost today with the announcement of the Cities of Service Awardees.
23 cities in the U.S. will receive a total of $1 million USD in 2014 to address specific goals – all to be supported by volunteer-based efforts. Convention & visitors bureaus (CVBs), chambers of commerce, and other destination marketing organizations (DMOs) in these cities will now have an opportunity to build on these awards, perhaps drawing not only domestic voluntourists but even international ones to support the projects set forth by the mayors of the following 23 cities:
• Allentown, PA Mayor Ed Pawlowski
• Atlanta, GA Mayor Kasim Reed
• Austin, TX Mayor Lee Leffingwell
• Birmingham, AL Mayor William A. Bell, Sr.
• Buffalo, NY Mayor Byron W. Brown
• Campton Hills, IL Mayor Patsy Smith
• Charleston, SC Mayor Joseph P. Riley, Jr.
• Fall River, MA Mayor William A. Flanagan
• Flint, MI Mayor Dayne Walling
• Hartford, CT Mayor Pedro E. Segarra
• Hayward, CA Mayor Michael Sweeney
• Kalamazoo, MI Mayor Bobby J. Hopewell
• Kansas City, KS Mayor Mark R. Holland
• Louisville, KY Mayor Greg Fischer
• Mesa, AZ Mayor Scott Smith
• Milwaukee, WI Mayor Tom Barrett
• Nashville, TN Mayor Karl Dean
• Orlando, FL Mayor Buddy Dyer
• Philadelphia, PA Mayor Michael A. Nutter
• Richmond, CA Mayor Gayle McLaughlin
• San Jose, CA Mayor Chuck Reed
• Utica, NY Mayor Robert Palmieri
• Washington, DC Mayor Vincent C. Gray
Some of the names on this list should be familiar to those who have followed voluntourism over the last decade. Atlanta, GA, Austin, TX, Nashville, TN, Orlando, FL, Philadelphia, PA, and Washington, DC either have strong voluntourism programs or tourism-related businesses which offer voluntourism programs in these destinations. CVBs and DMOs in these communities will likely be delivering this message to the tourism sector in the days and weeks ahead – something to certainly jumpstart the New Year.
Will these mayors be preparing to tap inbound voluntourists to assist them with their initiatives in 2014? We can only hope so!