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Volunteer Tourism: Does it have a place in development?


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Ingram, JM 2008 , 'Volunteer Tourism: Does it have a place in development?', Honours thesis, University of Tasmania.

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Everywhere you look today people are being drawn, often unawares, into the trend of ‘development’: sponsored charity walks, pay per click internet fundraising, the donation of time and money, concerts and album recordings, ‘Fairtrade’ shopping. Whilst living in the UK in the early 2000s it became increasingly noticeable to me that in the highly competitive charity and travel sectors alternatives were being sought to either assist in the development of poor communities or to attract customers via new products. Volunteering as part of a holiday was becoming the new ‘fad’. Promoted as an opportunity to experience a different culture whilst doing something constructive and worthwhile for a developing community, it was the new fashionable way to ‘do development’.

Like many other initiatives in development, concern has been raised as to whether volunteer tourism can truly add value to the development of poor communities. Is it, in fact, merely a tourism product? This thesis is an innovative attempt to call volunteer tourism to account. Through examination of the new phenomenon and an analysis of literature and examples in relation to development and volunteer tourism, it will consider whether volunteer tourism has a place in development.

To do so, the first chapter will examine the ground breaking initiatives that have infiltrated the development cause in recent decades and assess the value they have provided in poverty alleviation and capacity building. Chapter Two, focuses on one ground breaking initiative in particular, volunteer tourism. The main interest of Chapter Two is to introduce the reader to the concept of volunteer tourism and to evaluate it as a niche tourism product in today’s post modern world. Chapter Three provides an analysis of development initiatives of the past and what approaches have the greatest potential for success. This analysis forms the basis of an examination later in the chapter; assessing whether volunteer tourism fits within the framework of development. Finally, concluding remarks highlight the complexity of the volunteer tourism concept and call for further research into the new phenomenon – volunteer tourism.

Item Type: Thesis - Honours
Authors/Creators:Ingram, JM
Keywords: volunteer tourism, development
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© 2008 the Author

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