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Analyze an evaluate the impact of volunteer tourism on host communities 2 - Essay Example

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Running Head: Impact of Volunteer Tourism Impact of Volunteer Tourism Impact of Volunteer Tourism Introduction Volunteer tourism has its roots in the philosophy of “volunteerism”, which refers to individuals rendering their services not for material compensation, but for the desire to change the society for better…
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Analyze an evaluate the impact of volunteer tourism on host communities 2
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Download file to see previous pages As identified by Sin (2010), we live in a world of “heightened responsibilities”. At least in the developed world, people are being bombarded; from almost all directions that they need to show have to exhibit great environmental friendliness, moral responsibility, ethical consumerism, eco-friendliness and concern for less privileged members of the society. Corporate social responsibility, ethical marketing, social marketing, charities, cause related campaigns are a manifestation of the same. Volunteer tourism also falls under the same umbrella (Tourism Research and Marketing, 2008, p. 43). Researchers and experts have welcomed this idea with great deal of optimism and energy since it appears that such approach towards tourism can emerge as a much needed catalyst for social change. It can build bridges, foster intercultural relations, generate employment, help less privileged in the underdeveloped countries and set them towards the path of sustainability while providing satisfaction to the volunteers. Most of the projects undertaken by the volunteer tourists fall under the umbrella of building, community welfare, teaching, environmental regeneration, business, cultural development, environmental protection, healthcare, journalism, research and others. Countries that most hosted volunteer tourists include Kenya, India, Italy, Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Ghana, Honduras and China. This paper, however, is an attempt to review and analyse the concept of volunteer tourism in a critical light. Discussion Tourism is a lucrative industry since it has the potential to contribute to the national output of the host country, generate employment and open doors of foreign exchange. One of the most significant advantages of volunteer tourism is that it directs this tourism money and its economic impact to more deserving and underdeveloped destinations that would not have received the same from other forms of mainstream tourism. Wearing (2001) acknowledges the fact that in the case of volunteer tourism, the host communities are on the receiving end, the volunteers also receive a significant degree of intercultural experience, personal satisfaction, self fulfilment and inner peace. Quite understandably, a volunteer tourist who is working alongside local communities is likely to have much more meaningful interactions with the local community as compared to a tourist who is residing in five star hotels and visiting only elite locations (p. 58). Such interactions are not only helpful in promoting intercultural relations, but at the same time, they also allow people from developed countries to understand the problems of people from developing countries and empathise with them. Guttentag (2009), in light of the overwhelming evidence, acknowledges the fact that over the past couple of decades, volunteer tourism has emerged as a promising mass niche market within the tourism industry, which has been hailed widely to benefit the host communities as well as the tourists. However, the author highlights the fact that widespread enthusiasm and optimism regarding volunteer tourism has translated into an uncritical approach towards volunteer tourism, ...Download file to see next pages Read More
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