Myth or substance: an examination of altruism as the basis of volunteer tourism

Coghlan, Alexandra, and Fennell, David (2009) Myth or substance: an examination of altruism as the basis of volunteer tourism. Annals of Leisure Research , 12 (3-4). pp. 377-402.

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Altruism is commonly associated with volunteer tourism as a motivational force for participants and a key factor in their on-site experiences. In this paper we seek a better understanding of the term altruism, and how it applies to the volunteer tourism sector. By applying altruism models that include outcomes of helping defined as both instrumental and ultimate goals, we review the volunteer tourism literature to look for egoistic and altruistic goals. Specifically, we examine volunteer tourists' motivations as well as experiences and benefits as outlined in 43 academic papers. The results suggest that, while volunteer tourists may behave in an altruistic manner, personal benefits derived from the experience by and large dominate the experience. It would appear that volunteer tourism represents a form of social egoism, which depending on the management of the volunteer tourists, and the goals and implementation of the projects goals, will indeed benefit local environments and communities. To move the debate forward, we suggest that the market forces as applied to the volunteer tourism sector may be examined, and other terms such as Eudaimonia be used to explain the pluralistic motivations, desires, and. roles of volunteer tourists.

Item ID: 9496
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1174-5398
Keywords: volunteer; tourism; volunteer tourism; motivations; experiences; benefits; altruism
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Date Deposited: 06 Apr 2010 03:38
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 > 900399 Tourism not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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