Towards an integrated image-based typology of volunteer tourism organisations
This paper focuses on volunteer tourism organisations that offer conservation expeditions, where volunteer tourists can assist in scientific research or ecological restoration. It seeks to identify organisational images and suggest how these images affect the expectations of volunteer tourists. Using the promotional material of volunteer tourism organisations, the contents of organisations' mission statements, promotional photographs and volunteer testimonies were analysed. Potential volunteer tourists were also asked to perform a multiple sorting procedure on the organisations' brochures to assess their images of volunteer tourism organisations. From the results, four groups of volunteer tourism organisations were identified and labelled 'conservation research expeditions', 'holiday conservation expeditions', 'adventure conservation expeditions' and 'community holiday expeditions'. It is proposed that organisations need to be aware of their perceived images in order to match their volunteers' expectations and needs, manage tourists' expectations and ensure the success of their volunteer tourism expeditions.
Journal of Sustainable Tourism