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Voluntourism in the Tourism Industry

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This essay looks at the present status of ‘volunteer the travel industry’, both as a field of study and current state. In addition, the paper outlines the volunteer the travel industry, assesses the effects for example positive or negative of volunteer the travel industry.

Volunteering in tourism stands for a form of tourism within which persons travel to new places or different countries, where they volunteer their services to help those who need their services or abilities. According to Mostafanezhad and Hannam (2016), volunteer tourism is mostly preferred by young students who treat the time spent travelling and volunteering as a gap year that counts towards their studies and work experience. In some ways, it is close to 'eco-tourism,' in that the goal of improving people's lives is always there. Voluntourism, unlike eco-tourism, is based on supporting others rather than the climate. Tourists who engage in charitable work are referred to as voluntarists.

Traditional tourism, according to Wearing (2003), encourages inequality by enabling developed-world multi-national corporations to maintain economic power and wealth to invest in and grow the tourism industries of developing countries. As a result of this ‘difference’ the author proposes volunteer tourism as a tool for bringing about improvements in the lives of both developing-country communities and developed-country volunteers. According to Wearing, this is due to the direct contact between the ‘hosts’ and their ‘guests’ in an experience that has the potential to transform principles.

According to Butcher (2015) there are different types of volunteering in tourism, where these include philanthropy, where this involves pushing for improved wellbeing of the people with whom one is visiting to ensure that their standards of living are elevated. In this case, philanthropy provides funds to courses that improve the welfare of local communities through sponsoring projects while one is travelling in the community. This form of volunteer tourism does not require any amount or form of return save for ensuring that living standards are improved.

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Community service is an additional form of volunteer tourism within which volunteer tourists engage in analyzing the needs of the local communities within which they travel. Bandyopadhyay (2019) states that those engaging in this form of volunteer tourism tend to focus mainly on education, where they offer community sensitization and meet educational needs of the community. The above involves teaching new skills and even educating the youth so that the community can have a means of improving themselves through shared skills and knowledge. In such cases, this form of volunteer tourism provides local communities with new skills and abilities, while also bringing out the talents available in the local communities. Bennett et al. (2018) terms this as a beneficial form of volunteer tourism owing to its ability to empower community to be more independent with regards to discovering the resources and abilities that exist within it. An example of this is quoted under talents and usage of waste materials that could be used to create art as seen in the case of recycling plastics.

Service learning stands out as another form of volunteer tourism where volunteer tourists visit communities for their own good in terms of altruism with Kumar (2020) terming this form of tourism as adding to the skills and experiences of the volunteer. This is beneficial in that both parties gain significantly with the downside being that the local communities are losing culturally. An example of this is evident in the case of trademarking traditional technologies belonging to natives and using them to profit themselves (Ahmad and Smith, 2018).

While there are possibly macro scaled negative impacts of volunteer the travel industry, it is essential to break down the underlying micro negative impacts that lead to these bigger negative impacts. The first and generally significant of these micro impacts is that unsuitable work is being finished by untalented volunteers, while the requirements of local people are set to the side to zero in on the encounters of the volunteers. Lately volunteer the travel industry has gotten extremely well known, particularly among post-optional understudies, naturally one is left to scrutinize the degree of involvement these understudies have in the territories like framework, schooling, or ecological preservation (Mostafanezhad, 2017).

Additional negative aspects of volunteer tourism lie within volunteers taking over local employment opportunities at expatriate wages becoming a burden on the local community (Everingham and Motta, 2020). This is detrimental as it becomes a way of pillaging local resources as opposed to improving the livelihoods of locals.

Altogether, volunteer tourism is a form of tourism that seeks to meet the needs of both areas that are visited and the curiosity of tourists. It has benefits in improving livelihoods by sharing knowledge and skills while it is detrimental through taking local jobs, resources, and cultural knowledge.

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Voluntourism in the Tourism Industry. (2022, October 28). Edubirdie. Retrieved December 8, 2023, from
“Voluntourism in the Tourism Industry.” Edubirdie, 28 Oct. 2022,
Voluntourism in the Tourism Industry. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 8 Dec. 2023].
Voluntourism in the Tourism Industry [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Oct 28 [cited 2023 Dec 8]. Available from:
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