Volunteer tourism: illustrating the diversity of the sector

Coghlan, Alexandra (2005) Volunteer tourism: illustrating the diversity of the sector. In: Proceedings of Fourth Annual Asia Pacific Forum for Graduate Student Research in Tourism, pp. 96-113. From: Fourth Annual Asia Pacific Forum for Graduate Student Research in Tourism, 1-3 August 2005, Manoa, Hawaii, USA.

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Abstract

Volunteer tourism represents an emerging tourism sector for vacationers who want to make a difference during their holidays. There is, however, little research on the nature and scope of this tourism sector. This study aims to illustrate the heterogeneous nature of this tourism sector by 1) developing a typology of volunteer tourism organisations based upon their promotional image; 2) identifying the expectations and motivations of actual volunteer tourists; and 3) comparing these with the organisations' promotional images. Four groups of volunteer tourism organisations are identified and labelled - "research conservation holidays", "holiday conservation expeditions", "adventure conservation expeditions" and "community holiday expeditions". Results also show that the volunteers' motivational and socio-demographic profiles varied between organisations, although the volunteers' expectations remained fairly consistent. Finally, it was found that an organisation's promotional image does not necessarily match the volunteer tourists' expectations. The results suggest that volunteer tourism is a diverse sector, with a range of niche markets and different emphases on holidaying vs. volunteering. It is proposed that organisations should be aware of their perceived images in order to match their volunteers' needs and ensure the success of their volunteer tourism expeditions.

Item ID: 14801
Item Type: Conference Item (Refereed Research Paper - E1)
Keywords: expectations; image; motivation; volunteer tourism
Additional Information:

Conference theme "Winds of change in tourism research: Voyages of inquiry and discovery"

Date Deposited: 21 Nov 2010 23:35
FoR Codes: 15 COMMERCE, MANAGEMENT, TOURISM AND SERVICES > 1506 Tourism > 150606 Tourist Behaviour and Visitor Experience @ 100%
SEO Codes: 90 COMMERCIAL SERVICES AND TOURISM > 9003 Tourism > 900302 Socio-Cultural Issues in Tourism @ 100%
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