More and more, we hear that the latest trends in travel revolve around offering meaningful experiences for both groups and individuals. Simply “getting away from it all” isn’t enough anymore. Travel companies and agents need to provide unique opportunities that deliver value-driven, conscientious experiences for people to engage in self-improvement programs, eco-awareness activities, social responsibility schemes, community involvement and volunteering. Finding the right partners in this arena can be a challenge, but there are several resources available to help you identify qualified, experienced professionals.

Photo Courtesy of WYSE

The World Youth, Student and Educational (WYSE) Travel Confederation provides an easy starting point. This nonprofit membership organization has strict quality control procedures to ensure that only companies of the highest merit are accepted. The Confederation also offers sector-specific associations to serve various interests within the international youth travel industry.

The WYSE Work Abroad Association (www.wyseworkabroad.org) is the leading global forum and trade association for organizations involved in all aspects of work abroad, volunteering, internships and cultural exchange. Member organizations of WYSE Work Abroad place tens of thousands of young people in enriching culturally-oriented work abroad and volunteer programs every year.

Working or volunteering abroad gives young people greater knowledge, acceptance and respect for other cultures, which is vital for the development of future generations and directly benefits the local communities they serve. As the world’s leading association for this industry, WYSE Work Abroad is dedicated to enhancing youth mobility and supporting trusted sending and receiving organizations worldwide.

Photo Courtesy of WYSE

 

A key focus of the association this year will be government lobbying, and they have kicked off by forming an advocacy group in Russia to protect the rights of agents and sending organizations working in the region. The WYSE Travel Confederation and its associations regularly collaborate with governments and NGOs around the world to enable young people to connect with new cultures, languages and people through educational travel. Furthermore, the European Commission has also shown their support for this industry by declaring 2011 the Year of Volunteering. Such a move will surely contribute to the rise in demand for volunteering opportunities that allow participants to actively engage in local communities and give them insight into foreign cultures.

If you want to connect with people who are active in the global work abroad, volunteering and cultural exchange industry, there’s no better way than meeting them face to face at the sector’s annual event: the Work Experience Travel Market (WETM) taking place this year in Brussels, Belgium March 16-18. The event also includes the International Au Pair Association (IAPA) Annual Conference; IAPA is another niche association of WYSE Travel Confederation.

WETM-IAC (www.wetm.org) provides an exceptionally targeted opportunity to establish and strengthen sector-focused partnerships, gain industry intelligence and tap into emerging markets. The event consists of…

  • strategic business appointments
  • seminars and workshops
  • best practice discussions
  • case study reviews
  • premium networking events
  • community action programs
  • award ceremonies

WETM-IAC brings together hundreds of attendees from over 50 countries. It offers unparalleled trading, business and marketing opportunities as evidenced by the thousands of business appointments held at the event each year.

—Jacqueline Kassteen, WYSE Travel Confederation

WYSE Travel Confederation is a not-for-profit membership organization serving the international youth, student and educational travel industry. With over 100 years of combined industry insight, integrity and experience, the Confederation serves as the global industry body for the sector and helps its 550+ members across 100+ countries provide international travel and educational experiences to 10+ million young people and students each year. Visit www.wysetc.org or contact info@wysetc.org.