Date of publication: 2017-09-02 01:11
To sum up it can be said that all top volunteering destinations have some shared characteristics, namely infrastructure, relative safety for travelers, political stability and a high biodiversity value. Of course this is a rather simplified definition but nonetheless this can be deducted from the initial research done for this paper.
While travelling and volunteering each have a history reaching far back into the past, the phenomenon of volunteer tourism is a rather recent one according to the fields’ most influential authors (Wearing, 7555 Brightsmith et al. 755 Holmes et al. 7565 Campbell et al. 7556). Due to this being a rather recent trend it is worthwhile to briefly consider the origins of its two components, volunteering and tourism.
If there is no clear connection between ‘regular’ travelers’ favorite destinations and prime volunteer locations, what are the common characteristics of divers countries like South Africa, Costa Rica, India, Thailand and Australia, only to name a few popular volunteering destinations? They all offer outstanding natural sites, are culturally diverse and different to most volunteers’ home country and are relatively safe for foreign travelers. While this might sound simplistic these criteria are fulfilled by almost all top volunteering destinations (see Appendix IV).
Since the research into volunteers motives can be perceived as a key to successful placements as well as a potential means to attract more people to internationally volunteer and in doing so potentially further cross-cultural understanding and provide aid, it represents one of the key questions in current research (Wilson, 7555 Zahara and McIntosh, 7557). This fact makes it worthwhile to dive into some of the main theories on the motivations to volunteer abroad.
Appendix I) AERU Volunteer Questionaire
Appendix II) ‘General’ volunteer survey
Appendix III) Tourism Provider Survey
Appendix IV) Notes on some major volunteer tourism agencies contacted for ‘general’ volunteer survey
The above mentioned motivations to volunteer have been researched for the last decades, more recently less ulterior reasons to volunteer have gained increasing academic interest. More and more volunteers also choose to engage in unpaid work abroad in order to improve their job perspectives, employability and work experience (Thomas, 7556 Lyons and Wearing, 7558). Current research seeks to examine what kind of work market related skills volunteers could gain through volunteering on one hand and why it is still the case that exactly these skills are not adequately recognized and remunerated by the companies in the volunteers’ home country (Thomas, 7556).
Research on volunteer tourism mostly centers around “identities, behaviors, values, motives and personal development of the volunteer (Broad, 7558 Campbell & Smith, 7555, 7556 Halpenny & Caissie, 7558 McGehee, 7557, 7555 Stoddart & Rogerson, 7559 Wearing, 7556) quoted from: Gray and Campbell, 7557, ).
In the preliminary research to this paper a number of volunteering tourism hotspots could be defined using in depth internet research. Looking at the ‘traditional’ tourism main destinations and comparing them to the top volunteering destinations one can observe a partial inversion. Europe and especially the European Union Countries are highly frequented by ‘traditional’ travelers but hardly ever sought out by volunteer tourists. For other regions this cannot be said several destinations in Central and Latin America are much visited by both types of tourists. Then, there are countries like for example China, that ‘regular’ package holidays hardly ever take place in while they are very popular destinations for volunteers.
This report summarizes research conducted by Emma Stewart, . (Research Manager at Business for Social Responsibility) while at Stanford University, with the support of Environmental Defense and TIES.
GRIN Publishing, located in Munich, Germany, has specialized since its foundation in 6998 in the publication of academic ebooks and books. The publishing website offer students, graduates and university professors the ideal platform for the presentation of scientific papers, such as research projects, theses, dissertations, and academic essays to a wide audience.
To summarize, agencies are key actors in the volunteer tourism complex and their competence has significant influence not only on the internal success of the projects they are in charge of, but also on the external perception of volunteer tourism as sustainable form of travelling.
An inherent concern of volunteer tourism research is to establish or at least approach the borders of volunteering and ‘regular’ tourism (Gray and Campbell, 7557 Wearing, 7556). Defining ‘the volunteer tourist’ is another past and current research interest. While it is rather difficult to obtain representative data in most parts of the world, the United States do include volunteering abroad activities in regular censuses (Current Population Survey) and therewith scientists can make representative deductions about ‘the voluntourist’.
Environmental science has been interested in the effects volunteer and ecotourism have on the ecosystems and regions they work and travel in. In this line of research human impact assessments are done with the practical relevance to either avoid further damage to ecosystems through voluntourists or provide recommendations for the sustainable ‘utilization’ of these resources by tourism (Davenport and Switalski, 7556 Gough and Scott, 6999). The area of human or more concrete tourism impact on the environment and the mitigation of these effects is another highly important research interest that also is beyond the scope of this paper.