Introduction such as the ones in Phuket or

Introduction Tourism has been a driving force in the economic development of many communities all around the world. From the beaches of Thailand to global capitals such as Paris or New York, tourism has been one driving force of development (Schubert, Brida, & Risso, 2011). But another area of interest apart from economical development which is less explored by scholars is impact of alternative tourism on host communities. Whereas this impact certainly exists in every travel destination, even in the multicultural megacities of the world, it is in the communities of the developing world where it’s impact is most felt (Nunkoo, Ramkissoon, Gursoy, & Chi, 2009).  Tourism impact’s has made isolated island communities such as the ones in Phuket or Koh Samui Thailand thriving centres of tourism development and business(Soontayatron, 2010). But scholars have also argued that tourism in such isolated communities affects their socio-cultural heritage (Andersson & Lundberg, 2013). Whether the economic benefits of tourism outweigh the socio-cultural impact that tourism can have on host communities will be a topic debated for decades.

The focus of this paper is on volunteer tourism, an alternative form of mass tourism. Volunteer tourism, or “voluntarism” is an alternative form of tourism which involves activities which attempt to alleviate suboptimal living conditions of host communities (Wearing, 2001). Where as Leiper defines tourists as “a tourist can be defined as a person making a discretionary, temporary tour which involves at least one overnight stay away from the normal place of residence, excepting tours made for the primary purpose of earning remuneration from points en route”(Leiper, 1979). Wearing defines the volunteer tourist as a tourist which “for various reasons volunteers in an organised way to undertake holidays that might involve aiding or alleviating the material poverty of some groups in society, the restoration of certain environments or research into aspects of society or environment”(Wearing, 2001).From the off set then, volunteer tourism’s object of travel is to positively affect the host community. This is in sharp contrast with mass tourism in which the tourist mostly indulges in leisure activities. Whether and to what extent the objective of volunteer tourism is achieved, and what the impact of this activity is will be explored in the following sections.  This paper will explore the impact of volunteer tourism on host communities.

This will be achieved by analysing peer reviewed on ground research concerning the impact of volunteer tourism. The results of each study will be analysed and discussed to create a picture of the current state of research concerning the impact of volunteer tourism. The conclusions drawn from the research process will then be utilised in discussing the impact which currently exists in such host communities. As the various papers researching this phenomena utilise different research approaches, the methodology used in synthesising their findings will be rooted in qualitative analysis.  – What is the impact of volunteer tourism on host communities in developing states?- What kinds of impact are there?  Economic Impact  In the first study, taking place in Rwanda, Carla Barbier, Carla Almeida Santos and Yasuharu Katsube collected on ground findings from a ten day trip with the volunteer tour provider Amahoro tours. Amahoro means peace in Rwandan, and according to the authors the tour provider prides itself in providing tours which put volunteers in equal positions with local, working hand to hand on common projects. The tour provider also offers services for a gorilla trekking tour. The research methodology chosen by the team of researchers was auto-ethnography which is defined as cited in (Barbieri, Santos, & Katsube, 2012) “the process by which the researcher chooses to make explicit use of his or her own positionality, involvements, and experiences as an integral part of ethnographic research (Cloke, Crang, & Goodwin, 1999, p.

333)”. Auto-ethnography involves a two stage operation in which the researcher attempts to “unite ethnographic (looking outward at a world beyond one’s own) and autobiographical (gazing inward for a story of one’s self) intentions”(Schwandt, 2014).Data was then collected through direct participation and indirect interviews, meaning that none of the interviewees were aware of the researchers identity and objective while being questioned. The researchers noted that other volunteers, while not wholly unsatisfied with the experience at time felt disappointed that because of cultural and language barriers the work could not be done efficiently. Some volunteers would make up their own volunteer activities such as playing with children and teaching classes.

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This points toward the fact that sometimes in volunteer tourist operation there is simply not enough work (Palacios, 2010). The researchers still noted that there was intrinsic value of experience to the body of volunteers, since tourism experiences can affect identity and self of the participator (Andrews, 2009). According to the authors there are several benefits to the community. The project operator employs between ten and twenty locals to build the traditional huts, which is the main volunteering activity. Experienced builder earn about 4.4$ per day, while common workers earn 2.

5$ per day (McGehee & Andereck, 2009). If the tour operator manages to expand and build several huts at the same time, the number of employees would also scale along with it and a sizeable number of people would be employed from funds which essentially are the volunteering fee. The hut building has also had impact on the local economy, the local brick market has also seen an increase in demand because of the hut building. Some volunteers such as one of the researcher are also hosted directly by locals, which further assists locals economically.

This case study then makes a valid point for volunteer tourism having the potential to positively affect the local economy. Socio-cultural impact is not directly referenced in this paper, but the researcher do state that some of the locals come to perceive the volunteer tourists as either not tourists (McGehee , 2009). Or a different kind of tourists (Gray & Campbell, 2007).

due to the volunteers attitude, acts and objective in volunteering. In conclusion then, there are noticeable impacts on the host community in the case of Amahoro tours in Rwanda. The research mostly describes the positive economic impact that the volunteering has on the community, but social impact does also exist. Since the research does only briefly mention the social impact, clear conclusions can not be drawn. But it is certain that the continuous presence of foreign tourists must have an impact on the locals. Apart from the differing perception of the volunteers when compared to common tourists, the researchers also mention that locals try to overcome language barriers to communicate with the volunteers. This is caused by the introduction of a body of people which speak languages foreign to the locals (Linde & Labov, 1975).

This process is certainly another impact of volunteers in the community.         

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