Title

Voluntourism and Capitalism: The Desire to Help and the Desire for Profit

Presenter Information

Eric WhitakerFollow

Academic Level at Time of Presentation

Senior

Major

Spanish

Minor

Nonprofit Leadership Studies

List all Project Mentors & Advisor(s)

Ben Post

Presentation Format

Oral Presentation

Abstract/Description

Voluntourism and Capitalism: The Desire to Help and the Desire for Profit

Volunteer tourism, or voluntourism, is a practice where an individual or a group of individuals travels from their community to another and participates in both volunteer service and tourism. As the voluntourism has grown into a multi-billion-dollar industry, more people and their communities feel the effects of it. To ensure that these communities are receiving the best quality aid possible, it is important to evaluate the industry from all angles. Many instances of voluntourism produce only short-term, unsustainable changes for the communities that voluntourists visit. There is already an abundance of research on many of the practical concerns of the industry but there is still much to learn about the attitudes of those affected by the industry. This paper will combine the two approaches to gain a more complete view of the volunteer tourism industry. I examined the attitudes of Spanish speakers on the industry through a variety of sources including blogs, journalism, and an autobiography and used this insight in conjunction with a theoretical analysis and a case study of a Mexican volunteer tourism agency to evaluate the efficacy of voluntourism. I found Spanish speakers in general, present a mixed opinion of the volunteer tourism industry and a socio-economic approach raises concerns that voluntourism may be a new form of neocolonialism if not conducted properly. This implies that while voluntourism is capable of creating positive changes in the communities they aid, there are many aspects of the industry that require improvement. With a careful and forward-looking approach, voluntourism has potential to help make our world a better place.

Spring Scholars Week 2019 Event

GLT/Modern Languages Senior Colloquium

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Voluntourism and Capitalism: The Desire to Help and the Desire for Profit

Voluntourism and Capitalism: The Desire to Help and the Desire for Profit

Volunteer tourism, or voluntourism, is a practice where an individual or a group of individuals travels from their community to another and participates in both volunteer service and tourism. As the voluntourism has grown into a multi-billion-dollar industry, more people and their communities feel the effects of it. To ensure that these communities are receiving the best quality aid possible, it is important to evaluate the industry from all angles. Many instances of voluntourism produce only short-term, unsustainable changes for the communities that voluntourists visit. There is already an abundance of research on many of the practical concerns of the industry but there is still much to learn about the attitudes of those affected by the industry. This paper will combine the two approaches to gain a more complete view of the volunteer tourism industry. I examined the attitudes of Spanish speakers on the industry through a variety of sources including blogs, journalism, and an autobiography and used this insight in conjunction with a theoretical analysis and a case study of a Mexican volunteer tourism agency to evaluate the efficacy of voluntourism. I found Spanish speakers in general, present a mixed opinion of the volunteer tourism industry and a socio-economic approach raises concerns that voluntourism may be a new form of neocolonialism if not conducted properly. This implies that while voluntourism is capable of creating positive changes in the communities they aid, there are many aspects of the industry that require improvement. With a careful and forward-looking approach, voluntourism has potential to help make our world a better place.