The special interest tourism segment has been the new tourism of the 1980s and 1990s. According to Knowles and Curtis (1999), mass tourism will be replaced by a more responsible and more realistic, variety of mass tourism, where price is no longer the critical factor'. Uncontrolled mass tourism is not as attractive as before since it threatens destination development and environment as well as damaging the natural and cultural assets (Poon, 1993).
In his study, Poon (1993) also stated that: The economics of the new tourism is very different from the old - profitability no longer rests solely on economies of scale and the exploitation of mass undifferentiated markets'. In response to that change, tourism industry has developed niche tourism products to diversify their product base and establish individualized niches. This allows smaller independent tourism operators to compete in a highly price sensitive and competitive tourism market. One of the fastest growing niche products in the tourism industry is the volunteering tourism, which saw a proliferation in number of organizations offering such activities (Brown & Morrison, 2003; Bakker & Lamoureux, 2008; Butcher & Smith, 2010). The increase in number of volunteer tourists can be explained by a shift towards more responsible forms of tourism (Rowe & Hall 2003; Wearing 2001) and an increase in sense of global citizenry (Crabtree 1998; McGehee 2002; McGehee & Santos 2005). Indeed, volunteer tourism may be considered a sustainable form of tourism and provide a model of best practice', which focuses on what the tourist can contribute to the destinations (Wearing 2004). Potentially, volunteer tourists can help bring funding and enthusiastic labor as well as new ideas and skills to important projects.
However, volunteering programmes from development NGOs and other development' agenda cannot be exempt from critical examination. The assumption is that any effort to help' the less fortunate (usually in a less developed country) is inherently positive in nature or the outcome is misleading, and various scholars have studied on the ineffective and even harmful consequences of the idea of development'. Moreover, the efforts of development NGOs, which were seen as the beneficiaries of these interventions, can bring not as many benefits as expected and can cause reproduction of global poverty.
[...] Conclusions There has been growing awareness that benefits of volunteer tourism cannot be assumed without careful plan and management. Especially with short-term volunteer tourism programs, the ability for young and unqualified volunteers to contribute to the host country has been continuously questioned (Roberts 2004; Simpson 2005b). In order to offer worthwhile experience, volunteer tourism organizations must avoid unhelpful or even harmful tendencies, which happen wirh many gap-year volunteer tourism experiences. The ‘gap-year' experiences of privileged young volunteer often aimed at their personal satisfactions and little else. [...]
[...] G. (2012). Oppression, emancipation, and volunteer tourism: Research propositions. Annals of Tourism Research, 84-107. McGehee, N. G., & Santos, C. A. (2005). Social change, discourse and volunteer tourism. Annals of Tourism Research, 760-779. McIntosh, A. J., & Zahra, A. (2007). A cultural encounter through volunteer tourism: Towards the ideals of sustainable tourism?. Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 541-556. [...]
[...] Novelli, M. (Ed.). (2005). Niche tourism: contemporary issues, trends and cases. Routledge. Palacios, C. M. (2010). Volunteer tourism, development and education in a postcolonial world: conceiving global connections beyond aid. Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 861-878. Poon, A. (1993). Tourism, technology and competitive strategies. CAB international. Roberts, L. [...]
[...] All of these factors play an important role in explaining the development of volunteer tourism. Brown's (2001) study on the motivations of volunteer vacationers suggests that cultural immersion, making a difference to others' life, gaining friendships with individuals of the same interests, and seeking educational opportunities for children were the main motivations for volunteer tourists. Broad's (2003) study showed that being in different culture, individuals change their perspective of the world, became more open-minded, more relaxed and content with themselves, and were less selfish during the course of their volunteering. [...]
[...] Gard McGehee, N. (2002). Alternative tourism and social movements. Annals of Tourism Research, 124-143. Guttentag, D. A. (2009). The possible negative impacts of volunteer tourism. International Journal of Tourism Research, 537-551. Knowles, T., & Curtis, S. (1999). The market viability of European mass tourist destinations. A post‐stagnation life‐cycle analysis. International Journal of Tourism Research, 87-96. McGehee, N. [...]
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