Volunteer tourism: commodified trend or new phenomenon?
Benson, A.M. and Wearing, S. (2012) Volunteer tourism: commodified trend or new phenomenon? In: Moufakkir, O. and Burns, P.M., eds. Controversies in tourism. CABI Publishing, Wallingford, Oxfordshire, UK, pp. 242-254. ISBN 9781845938130
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This chapter argues that volunteer tourism has become a global phenomenon, with market predictions indicating growth in both size and value and with this growth has come the inevitable controversies that surround new trends or phenomena. It explains that in examining this phenomenon there is a need to examine a wider agenda beyond that of its size and growth. This chapter attempts to build around the ideas on the volunteer experiences from both their experiences and the experiences of the communities with which they interact. It also suggests that volunteer tourists cannot solely be aligned with neo-colonialism or neoliberalism. Volunteer tourism sits at the intersection of a great many areas such as mass tourism, international development and sustainability, and as such it is essential that we do not isolate our ideas to singular theories, approaches or practices, as this would then limit our ability to research and appreciate this phenomenon. This chapter provides an overview of this area and attempts to provide the reader with an analysis of its function and characteristics.
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