Myth or Substance: An Examination of Altruism as the Basis of Volunteer Tourism
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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.
Annals of Leisure Research
© 2009 Australian & New Zealand Association for Leisure Studies (ANZALS). The attached file is reproduced here in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. Please refer to the journal's website for access to the definitive, published version.
Tourist Behaviour and Visitor Experience