Volunteer Tourism In The US National Parks System Essay Example
Volunteer Tourism In The US National Parks System Essay Example

Volunteer Tourism In The US National Parks System Essay Example

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  • Pages: 9 (2278 words)
  • Published: September 27, 2017
  • Type: Research Paper
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Recently, there has been a rise in volunteer tourism, with many people choosing to participate in this type of tourism. These individuals are motivated by factors such as selflessness, satisfaction, and skill development. In addition, volunteer tourism also benefits the communities being visited. It is seen as an alternative form of tourism that mutually benefits both the volunteers and host communities. This research aims to demonstrate how specific motivating factors related to cultural experiences and knowledge influence participation in volunteer tourism. The purpose of this research is also to gain a deeper understanding of the benefits that volunteer tourism provides for all involved parties and determine its sustainability. To collect relevant information, questionnaires, interviews, and secondary sources will be used. The data collected will then be analyzed using regression analysis and statistical software for social studies.

The consequences


will be presented utilizing tabular arraies, figures, and graphs.


Volunteer touristry is going an progressively popular activity affecting combination of travel with voluntary work. The activity attracts persons who seek a tourer experience which is reciprocally good lending non merely to personal development but besides contribute straight and positively to the societal, natural and economic environments they participate in. hence unpaid touristry is viewed to supply a more in return good signifier of going that ensures that both the voluntary and the host community additions from the experience.

The increasing popularity of voluntary tourism is seen as a shift towards a more responsible form of tourism and a reflection of the growing global community. According to Wearing (2004), volunteer tourism is considered the best practice in sustainable tourism as it focuses on the contribution of tourists to host communities. This

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type of tourism brings support, enthusiastic labor, ideas, and skills to important projects in these communities. In turn, it fosters improved cross-cultural understanding, heightened environmental awareness, and enhanced mutual understanding. Moreover, it offers tourists an opportunity to authentically experience host communities, acquire valuable skills, and improve their future employment prospects. However, concerns have been raised in both academia and the media regarding the negative impacts of volunteer tourism on stakeholders. These concerns emphasize the importance of carefully developing, planning, and managing these programs to ensure their effectiveness in benefiting both volunteers and host communities.Efforts mainly focus on enhancing benefits for volunteers, with little attention paid to increasing benefits for the host communities. Consequently, this has resulted in a scarcity of employment opportunities within the local communities associated with volunteer tourism.

This study aims to investigate various factors that motivate individuals to participate in voluntary tourism. Additionally, it will identify the benefits that host communities gain from engaging in voluntary tourism and determine whether the activity is a sustainable aspect of tourism. Therefore, this study provides an in-depth analysis of the incentives, community benefits, and sustainability of voluntary tourism.

Research Questions

This research paper seeks to address specific questions regarding the motivation factors for volunteer tourists, the advantages host communities receive from voluntary tourism, and the overall sustainability of these activities. Volunteer tourism involves individuals volunteering their time and efforts for a charitable cause while also traveling.

According to Kristen Lamoureux, promoting intercultural communication is often achieved through the direct interaction between tourists and the local community. Volunteer tourism involves participating in redevelopment projects aimed at improving the lives of people worldwide, ranging from assisting patients in hospitals to teaching

music (Brown & Lehto, 2005). This form of tourism has been growing rapidly, with people increasingly visiting developing countries and making significant contributions to disadvantaged communities during their vacations. This has resulted in the emergence of volunteer tourism, where tourists aim to have a comprehensive experience that combines voluntary service (Voluntism.org).

Volunteer tourism, also called voluntourism, is a fast-growing trend in the travel industry that welcomes individuals from all backgrounds. Over 55 million Americans have already taken part in voluntourism, as revealed by a 2007 study conducted by the Travel Association of America. Moreover, an additional 100 million individuals have expressed interest in both volunteering and traveling. Extensive research has identified numerous motives behind people's choice to participate in this unique form of tourism.

According to Wearing (2001), there are various reasons commonly mentioned as motivations for voluntary travel. These include altruism, desire for travel and adventure, personal growth, cultural exchange and learning, professional development, timing and location convenience, and individual preferences. Additionally, the Travel Industry Association of America (2007) also discovered several motivations for volunteerism, with the most frequently cited being the desire to do something good. Brown and Lehto (2005) argue that the perception of volunteering in tourism as purely selfless is a more complex process influenced by marketing messages. They identify two types of volunteer tourists: those primarily motivated by volunteering ("volunteer-minded" tourists) and those primarily seeking a vacation experience ("vacation-minded" tourists).

The text discusses two types of voluntary tourers: the "volunteer minded" tourers who seek opportunities that support their selfless inclinations, and the "vacation minded" tourers who choose volunteering locations based on advertising and promotional materials. It is important for researchers to consider these

two mentalities of volunteerism and understand the motivations, values, and decision-making processes of each group. Additionally, further research is needed to explore the motives and benefits of voluntary tourism, as well as the relationship between mass tourism motivations and voluntary motivations. Recent trends show that there is a growing group of environmentally conscious tourers who prioritize reducing their environmental impact and participate in environmental efforts. These conscious tourists seek experiences that align with their environmental values and opportunities to contribute their time to environmental initiatives.According to recent academic literature, volunteer tourism has been recognized as a distinct category of tourism that has shown significant growth. The number of voluntary tourists has reached 1.6 million, contributing between 1.6 to 2.6 billion dollars (Simpson, 2007).

The rapid growth in the field of voluntary tourism has made it a focal point for recent research projects. Volunteer tourists are primarily motivated by selflessness, but satisfaction typically depends on elements such as having fun, experiencing new things, learning new skills, and contributing to worthwhile projects. It has been recognized that the activities of volunteer tourists have significant impacts on tourist destinations, not only in terms of the fees paid, but also because tourists often spend a lot of time and money supporting their travel plans. According to voluntourism.org, voluntary tourism aims to provide resources that are often directed towards the community and address identified needs for development. This form of tourism focuses on supporting and enhancing the local community. (Wearing, 2004) (Wearing, 2001)

Volunteer tourism has been recognized to offer several advantages to the tourist destination. Some of these benefits include promoting sustainable tourism and mitigating its negative effects. Additionally, volunteer tourism

aligns its activities with a wide range of values and behaviors, distinguishing itself from mainstream tourism. It goes beyond the conventional approach and embraces concepts of general volunteering, aiming to benefit both the host community and the global community (Zahra & McIntosh, 2006). Moreover, unpaid tourism enhances the supportive aspects of volunteer tourism while addressing the negative ones through careful analysis and organizational planning. These plans are specifically tailored to the unique local communities found in different host communities and tourist destinations. However, there are also some emerging ethical concerns regarding the impacts of volunteer tourism on the tourist destinations.

There are organizations that believe disorganized and poorly directed voluntary work can have negative effects on the recipients. Therefore, it is important to provide comprehensive guidance for the development, planning, and evaluation of voluntary programs. This will help promote sustainable forms of voluntary tourism that benefit volunteers, host communities, and organizations involved in voluntourism (Jacobsen, 2000).

Methods and Methodology

The main focus of this research is to identify the motivations behind individuals' participation in voluntary tourism or travel. The study aims to determine what drives voluntourism in different tourist destinations.

According to Wearing (2001), the research will focus on exploring the advantages of voluntourism, its effects on tourist destinations, and its sustainability. The study will employ different data collection techniques to obtain pertinent information for a fruitful research endeavor.

The survey will use qualitative and quantitative research methods, employing various data collection techniques to gather necessary information. The collected data will be used to make reliable conclusions, recommendations, and decisions. Tabular arraies, charts, and graphs will be utilized for presenting the analyzed information. Non-parametric statistics will be employed for the

analysis of data.

Research Design

The research will use a survey method that combines both qualitative and quantitative research methods. Yu & Cooper (1983) suggest that this approach ensures comprehensive coverage and meets all research needs. The chosen design for this survey is a controlled randomized design, which allows for the study of specific interviewees from various tourist destinations. This design aims to collect diverse information on the incentives of voluntourism for tourists and the potential benefits for host communities. If executed properly, this design can generate the necessary data to address research questions and test hypotheses accurately.

Population Study

The population to be studied includes voluntourists and community members in areas benefiting from voluntourism services. The target population consists of tourists currently involved in voluntourism activities and trusted civic leaders in the host communities. These individuals are expected to provide reliable information on the impacts of voluntourism on their respective communities.

Sampling Design

The Sampling Design involves several sampling schemes, including random trying, graded random sampling, and careful biased trying.

The use of a random sampling scheme ensures that a representative group of the entire population engaged in voluntourism is selected for the research survey. Biased sampling will also be used to identify specific individuals such as active voluntourists and civic leaders who have been in office for more than a year, in order to gather certain information that cannot be provided by other members of the host community. Graded random sampling will be used to distinguish between individuals who have been directly or indirectly involved in voluntourism.

Data Collection Methods

The necessary information to gain an in-depth understanding of the motivating factors of voluntourism and its benefits in host communities will be

collected through the examination of both secondary and primary sources of data.

Primary Beginnings

Information for research can be gathered through various methods, including interviews, observations, and questionnaires. Interviews are particularly useful as they allow for direct contact with the interviewee, resulting in the possibility of obtaining firsthand information. The interview process allows both the interviewer and interviewee to clarify any issues pertaining to the research, ensuring that the information obtained is thorough and reliable. Additionally, interviews provide flexibility, as any unclear questions can be rephrased to facilitate better communication. Furthermore, interviews enable researchers to uncover information that may not be directly observable in the field, providing internal perspectives on the issue being studied. Despite these advantages, Cohen &According to Manion (1996), the process of interviewing one person at a time is a slow method. This approach cannot fully track past events and trends related to instability in the region. This limitation is due to the selective memory and retention of respondents, where incidents that evoke negative emotions are often forgotten or not mentioned to avoid feelings of regret.

The use of questionnaires is an effective and cost-effective method of collecting data. According to Benson (1946), questionnaires are able to eliminate interviewer bias and respondent prejudice. Additionally, Beiske (2002) argues that questionnaires can reach a large population at once, as they can be distributed to different participants and collected at a later date. This standardized approach also ensures objectivity in the data collected. Furthermore, the familiarity of respondents with the tool reduces selectivity and makes data analysis easier. Questionnaires are also more affordable compared to face-to-face interviews. Overall, questionnaires help minimize bias and provide a

reliable method of data collection (Patton, 2002).

According to Cohen & Manion (1996), the main issue with this tool is that respondents tend to forget critical information. They may answer the questions superficially, especially the longer ones. To address this, shorter questions are included in the survey. However, this comprehensive questionnaire, which is standardized, does not provide enough space for explanation in case respondents misinterpret or do not understand the questions. Additionally, data was collected in the field through observation.

Secondary Sources

Materials from the library, internet, and related research studies will be utilized to gather necessary information and data. Internal sources include information compiled by various organizations, both governmental and academic, on voluntourism, motivating factors, sustainability, and impacts on tourist destinations. External sources include government documents and previous research studies from academic institutions such as colleges and universities.

Data Analysis and Presentation

The data analysis will involve the use of nonparametric statistics. The collected information will be filtered and transformed to reveal useful insights for making decisions and recommendations. Additionally, descriptive statistics will be employed in analyzing the data. To test the research hypothesis and research questions, t-tests will be conducted (Patton, 2002).

To determine the key issues in the survey, they will be ranked in order of importance based on their relevance to the research questions. The data collected from the field will undergo a principal component analysis. Additionally, logical regression and correlation analysis will be conducted to examine the relationship between the benefits and negative effects of voluntourism on the stakeholders. The findings of the study will be presented using tables, graphs, and charts.

Questionnaire Guide

The paper presents a questionnaire and interview

guide designed to collect data for my thesis topic, "Volunteer Tourism in the US National Parks system". These guides ensure that I stay on track, help address important issues, provide a framework and systematic approach for asking questions, and maintain consistency throughout the process with various interviewees (Patton, 2002).

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