Volunteer Tourism: The Motivations and Impacts
The intention of this study is to provide an in-depth account of the experiences and interpretations of volunteer tourists. In order to achieve this, seven semi-structured interviews were conducted to investigate the motivations and impacts of volunteering abroad. The data accumulated from the interviews was then analysed against existing literature to draw conclusions and propose further research. The use of thematic analysis exposed three core themes within the data: volunteer attributes, motivations, and reciprocity. Firstly uncovered was the different attributes of a volunteer. All of the participants were at a point in their lives that allowed them to dedicate ‘free time’ into a volunteer tourism project. Why individuals chose to offer their time to those less fortunate is then examined. The findings revealed that individuals have dual motives (altruism and selfishness) for volunteering. However, the participants were driven fundamentally by self-centric motives. Finally, the liaison between the volunteer tourists and the host community is scrutinised in profound detail to uncover the reciprocal nature of their relationship.