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Voluntourism: The Economic Benefit and Societal Costs of Short-Term Mission Trips

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Abstract

The study examined 60 short-term mission trips to 31 different countries, ranging from 1-30 days by 720 volunteers. The total number of days for the 60 trips was 551 and the number of days in service was 362, which was about 66% of the time. Thirty-eight of the 60 trips were medical related and 22 of them were non-medical related. About 82% of the funds raised were for travel costs and about 18% went to the recipient community. Research suggests that money spent on voluntourism may not provide economic benefit for the recipient community, but it seems to be providing economic benefit to the individual evident by the fact that the voluntourism is a thriving industry. One must not be overly critical of how the spends were spent without also considering what the volunteer would have done with the money if they did not go on the trip. A cash contribution would often provide more economic benefit to the recipient community than a visit, but it is unlikely that a cash contribution to the community would have ever been made without a visit.
International Journal of Health and Economic Development, 3(2), 28-37, July 2017 28
Voluntourism: The Economic Benefit and Societal Costs of Short-Term Mission Trips.
S. Eric Anderson, Ricky Kim, Kelly Larios
La Sierra University, USA
sericanderson40@gmail.com, rkim@lasierra.edu, klar656@lasierra.edu
Abstract
The study examined 60 short-term mission trips to 31 different countries, ranging from 1 30 days
by 720 volunteers. The total number of days for the 60 trips was 551 and the number of days in
service was 362, which was about 66% of the time. Thirty-eight of the 60 trips were medical related
and 22 of them were non-medical related. About 82% of the funds raised were for travel costs and
about 18% went to the recipient community. Research suggests that money spent on voluntourism
may not provide economic benefit for the recipient community, but it seems to be providing
economic benefit to the individual evident by the fact that the voluntourism is a thriving industry.
One must not be overly critical of how the spends were spent without also considering what the
volunteer would have done with the money if they did not go on the trip. A cash contribution
would often provide more economic benefit to the recipient community than a visit, but it is
unlikely that a cash contribution to the community would have ever been made without a visit.
Keywords Voluntourism, economic benefit, short-term mission trips, recipient community and
medical mission trips.
Introduction
Kahn (2014) reported that volunteer tourism (voluntourism) is one of the fastest growing trends in
travel and that volunteer tourists (voluntourists) are spending about $2 billion each year. In 2009,
Fanning (2009) conservatively estimating that between 1 and 4 million people worldwide served
as short-term missionaries each year, while Popham (2015) just six years later placed the number
at 10 million, with travel expenses totaling $2 billion, which was about the same amount reported
by Kahn (2014). As short-term mission trips grow in popularity so does the scrutiny. Are short-
term mission trips a waste of time and money? Are individuals simply ignoring, rationalizing or
failing to recognize the real economic benefit of short-term mission trips? There has been much
criticism for mixing volunteering with tourism as critics describe them as being self-aggrandizing
vacations disguised as self-sacrifice. While short-term mission trips often provide volunteers with
many life-changing experiences (Brown, 2008), the opposite may be true for communities visited.
According to Staton (2015) there have been many articles written about the ineffectiveness of
short-term mission trips to developing nations. These types of trips often exploit the people and
communities they pretend to help. Worse, these short-term self-fulfillment trips can do more harm
than good. Many have the best intentions, but lack the required skills to be effective.
Guttentag (2009) expressed concerns over neglecting recipient interests, hindrance of work
progress, poor work quality, disrupting recipient economies, reinforcing stereotypes, poverty
rationalizing and the impact on local cultures. With the questionable efficacy of short-term mission
International Journal of Health and Economic Development, 3(2), 28-37, July 2017 29
trips combined with the $2 billion spent annually, it’s important to ask the question of who really
benefits. Is it the volunteers or the community served?
Literature Review
According to Probasco (2013) the goals and activities of short-term mission trips typically include
evangelism, cultural immersion, education, social justice advocacy or some kind of service project
in an impoverished community. For many, short-term mission trips provide exciting experiences
in exotic locales that broaden one’s horizons and provide opportunities to put their faith into action.
Jesionka (2017) wrote that there is a lot of discussion currently taking place on the effectiveness
of voluntourism that includes writers from industry, academia, travel, and from volunteers
themselves. From “The White Tourist’s Burden” to “Lions, Zebras and African Children,” these
writings express concerns of inexperienced volunteers from privileged environments going abroad
for their own egos and end up doing more harm than good for the recipient community. Mohamub
(2013) wrote As the gap between rich and poor widens, so too it seems does the need for those
of the global north to assuage the guilt of their privilege.
Wesby (2015) wrote that the altruism of voluntourism may be a warped form of narcissism, citing
hashtags such as “#instagrammingafrica” as evidence that the volunteer aspect of these trips are
being commercialized and glamorized while failing to create any change in a person’s worldview”.
Zakaria (2014) wrote that, “As admirably altruistic as it sounds, the problem with voluntourism is
its singular focus on the volunteer’s quest for experience, as opposed to the recipient community’s
actual needs. Staton (2015) expressed concerns about narcissistic westerners asserting their
perceived superiority by “rescuing” a developing nation. When people visit only the worst part of
a country, they don’t experience much beyond its helpless stereotype.
One of the biggest incentives for the volunteers to raise money is the prospect of travel and for
many much of the appeal in travel is the opportunity to showcase their trip journey on social media.
This practice is problematic because it often reinforces inaccurate stereotypes on the recipient
community. Gharib (2017) discusses the ethical issues of putting suffering individuals on display
and depicting them in a helpless light. Posting images of sick and starving individuals on Facebook
or Instagram results in those from the west seeing the photos and assuming that all peoples of that
region are similarly helpless and dependent on foreign intervention for progress. This is often a
disservice to the region, as it will give them an undeveloped, unfavorable image.
Van Engen (2000) stated that short-term mission trips are a phenomenon within Christian culture
in North America. However, despite the good intentions that motivate individuals to participate in
short-term missions, volunteers are spending significant sums of money investing within self-
fulfillment trips rather than the recipient community.
According to Biddle (2016), the amount of money raised for a person’s trip rarely includes personal
fees, which can be the equivalent of the money needed to go on the trip. Another concern Biddle
(2016) identified is that many of the organizations involved in voluntourism are often travel giants
such as Carousel that are are not specialized in development and may not be concerned with local
welfare, preferring margin to mission.
International Journal of Health and Economic Development, 3(2), 28-37, July 2017 30
Kahn (2014) noted that many individuals are making a living off voluntourism. Initially a travel
business that taught Spanish, Máximo Nivel, has now expanded throughout Latin America, offering
classes and tourism. Although not necessarily bad for the local economy, Western-owned groups
may appeal more to voluntourists, giving them a competitive advantage over the voluntourism
businesses owned by local citizens.
Kushner (2016) described a scenario where even experts got it wrong. “Critics of the Red Cross’s
post-earthquake work in Haiti argue that the half a billion dollars the organization raised for
disaster relief was largely misspent. Multimillion-dollar projects undertaken by the U.S.
government ultimately failed to help Haiti export its mangos or complete a new building for Haiti’s
Parliament on time. If smart, dedicated professionals fail to achieve lasting progress over a period
of years, how then is an untrained vacationer supposed to do so in a matter of days?
According to Freidus (2017) most volunteers bring few relevant skills and are not committed to
the long-term. As a result, volunteers mostly take part in service projects like basic construction,
painting, tutoring, distributing food or just being a friend. The volunteer’s ability to change
systems, alleviate poverty or provide support for vulnerable children is limited and they often
inadvertently perpetuate patronizing and unhelpful ideas about the recipient community.
Staton (2015) suggested that the tens of thousands of dollars that a group spends on travel to an
orphanage could have covered the orphanage’s food costs for a long time. Staton also wrote that
“If six people go on this two week trip, that’s more than enough money to pay for a local doctor’s
annual salary. If one truly cared about helping a community or a cause, then they could re-purpose
the money that would have been spent on a tour of the area and instead invest it directly into the
community itself”. However, it should be recognized that recipient communities relying on
donations are less likely become self-sustainable and experience economic growth.
Birrell (2010) wrote that “In Cambodia, as in other parts of the globe, orphanages are a booming
business trading on guilt. Some are even said to be kept deliberately squalid. Westerners take pity
on the children and end up creating a grotesque market that capitalizes on their concerns. This is
the dark side of our desire to help the developing world.” There are also reports of human
traffickers setting up orphanages who take in non-orphans for profit.
Oppenheim (2016) quoting JK Rowling wrote “Voluntourism is one of the drivers of family break
up in very poor countries. It incentivizes orphanages' that are run as businesses.” According to
collected data, 90% of the eight million children in institutions worldwide are not orphans and
have families at home, which want to care for them, but can’t because they are pushed into
institutions because of poverty and discrimination on the basis of disability or ethnicity
(Oppenheim, 2016).”
Kushner (2016) found that volunteering as caregivers for children has become so popular that some
orphanages are now operating more like a business than a charity. Orphanages have been known
to subject children to poor conditions in order to get naive volunteers to donate or raise even more
money. Many orphans actually have living parents who could probably do a better job of raising
their children than the orphanage. Wesby (2015) wrote that a more suitable long-term solution
would be to provide parents with the resources and knowledge to care for their children, or
International Journal of Health and Economic Development, 3(2), 28-37, July 2017 31
investing in a more permanent educational infrastructure, rather than focusing solely on short-term
necessities.
Staton (2015) wrote that People on such short trips usually don’t stick around long enough to
realize how ineffective they are being. Worse, they can even be harmful to children who struggle
with abandonment issues. This should not be understated; have you ever considered the negative
impact it routinely has on kids after they bond with someone for a week and then that person
disappears from their life? If your justification for going on these trips is “seeing the smiles on the
kids’ faces”, then you’re part of the problem.”
Van Engen (2000) told the story of eighteen students raising $25,000 to fly to Honduras for spring
break. They painted an orphanage, cleaned the playground, and played with the children. Everyone
had a great time, and the children loved the extra attention. One student commented: “My trip to
Honduras was such a blessing! It was amazing the way the staff cared for those children. I really
grew as a Christian there”. The Honduran orphanage's yearly budget was $45,000 and that covered
the staff's salaries, building maintenance, food and clothes for the children. One staff member there
confided, “The amount that group raised for their week here is more than half our working budget.
We could have done so much with that money”.
Staton (2015) identified at least two problems with a group of American teenagers traveling to a
lesser developed region to construct a school. First of most of them have never constructed
anything and secondly, they are taking jobs away from local construction workers who need the
work. Biddle (2014) described an experience in which a group of highly educated private boarding
school students were so bad at the most basic construction that each night the local men had to
take down the structurally unsound bricks each night and rebuild the structure before the volunteers
woke up in the morning so they wouldn’t be unaware of their failure. Kushner (2016) said that
missionaries making concrete blocks in Port-au-Prince knew nothing about how to construct a
building. The missionaries spent thousands of dollars to travel there to do a job that Haitian
bricklayers could have done faster and for far less money. Imagine how many classrooms might
have been built if the missionaries had just stayed home and donated the money they spent on
travel. Kushner (2016) also pointed out that Haitian masons could have found employment with a
decent wage for a several days.
Staton (2015) wrote that “Medical mission trips are more respectable than other types of
voluntourist trips. Vaccinating a few hundred people in Haiti for Cholera is a wonderful thing. It
has a lasting positive effect on society. Training local medical staff and bringing medical supplies
to a clinic is also valuable. Providing relief to an overburdened, under-resourced clinic is great.
However, Wesby (2015) reported that “voluntourism in the medical field brought local
communities more harm than good”. She described a situation in Ghana where the locals had
become reliant on foreign volunteers bringing medication and offering free medical care that they
were no longer interested in purchasing health insurance. The free care had a negative impact on
the local health insurance and healthcare providers. This resulted in the community becoming even
more dependent upon foreigners to maintain their health and increased community susceptibility
to disease during the times that healthcare was not available.
International Journal of Health and Economic Development, 3(2), 28-37, July 2017 32
Methodology and Results
The survey data was collected by conducting in-person interviews, phone conversations, and email
correspondence with 60 individuals who have either organized or participated in short-term
mission trips. There were a total 720 volunteers that traveled to 31 different countries on trips that
ranged from 1 to 30 days. The total number days for all 60 trips were 551 and the volunteers were
in service for 362 days or about 66% of the time. Thirty-eight of the 60 trips were medical related
and 19 of the trips were non-medical related. The total travel costs of the mission trips amounted
to $1,349,500 and the total amount raised for the charity was $303,990. About 82% of the money
raised or spent for the mission trips covered travel costs and around 18% of the total money raised
went to the local charity (see Appendix).
Listed below are a few of the more insightful observations that were shared by the volunteers
during their interview for this study.
1) A lady in Lesotho couldn’t understand why a group of kids whom they had never met
would raise thousands of dollars and then travel half way around the world to help us. It
just didn’t make sense to her, but she was appreciative of the support provided.
2) A medical doctor in Malawi said that many local doctors resented medical students doing
their rotations at his hospital. The doctor said it would have been more helpful if these
medical students, who think they know it all, had just stayed home and sent money.
3) A volunteer expressed frustration after several boxes of medical supplies disappeared at
customs in the Nairobi airport. It really made her mad that someone in customs would steal
supplies that were going to help their own people.
4) A volunteer after raising thousands of dollars to purchase $25 mosquito nets became
frustrated after she heard that the mosquito nets sold by the non-profit costs $4 piece.
5) A volunteer surprised at how many showed up for an HIV/AIDS conference in Swaziland
asked a conference attendee why she thought so many attended the conference. The
attendee said that “Free food is the reason so many attended the conference. The conference
topic wasn’t really all that important.
6) A hospital administrator in Guyana told a volunteer that the donated used equipment wasn’t
as helpful as they had hoped. The equipment often broke down and the maintenance guy
who flew in from Trinidad to repair made more than the local doctors.
7) A volunteer felt sick after he was told that he smuggled in $20,000 of dental equipment
and supplies into Zimbabwe. The trip sponsor told the so-called smuggler that they didn’t
tell him the value of what he smuggled or the legality of it all, because they didn’t want
him to be nervous going through customs at Harare.
8) A medical volunteer said that she was shocked to see a Roma Gypsy kid used to living
outside pee in the corner of the clinic exam room in Albania like it was normal behavior.
International Journal of Health and Economic Development, 3(2), 28-37, July 2017 33
9) A volunteer couldn’t believe that some of the kids in Cambodia would spend the entire day
in trash dump looking for things to sell and earning a dollar a day if they were lucky.
10) A volunteer said that the recipient community of aid in a Caribbean country showed zero
appreciation for the donations received.
11) A volunteer said that their tour group brought lots of disposable food and toiletry items,
but there wasn’t a place to dispose of it and felt bad leaving so much trash behind.
12) A volunteer in Cambodia said that the only clothes many of the kids had were the ones that
they were wearing. After she returned to the US, the volunteer attended a baby shower
where a baby received 80 new outfits, which made her sick to her stomach.
13) A volunteer said that the locals selected for a leadership in a Caribbean country had this
great sense of entitlement and doubted that they would ever be effective leaders.
Conclusion
The amount of money spent on voluntourism may not provide value, but people are free to spend
their money however they like. It has been pointed out that if these trips weren’t providing value
then the voluntourism industry would not be a thriving industry. One must not be overly critical
without also considering what the volunteer would have done with the money if they had not gone
on the trip. It may be true that a cash contribution often provides more value to the local community
than a visit, but it is unlikely that a cash contribution to the local community would have ever been
made.
It’s said that “numbers don’t lie”, and while it may be off-putting to think about voluntourism, an
enterprise primarily motivated by a heartfelt desire to create value and make a difference, from the
cold and calculating perspective of a cost-benefit analysisthe numbers do, in fact, tell a different
story that demand a reexamination of the perceived efficacy of voluntourism.
Indeed, the goal of this research isn’t to deter individuals from engaging or supporting
voluntourism per se. Rather, it’s to implore voluntourists to start a serious conversation about how
to responsibly allocate their financial resources to gain the highest possible return for themselves
and the communities that they aim to serve.
But how should such a conversation start? By examining the very ingredient that motivates
voluntourism in the first placehuman empathy. When individuals imagine themselves into the
lives of other people, they are better able to understand and fulfill their needs.
By constructing voluntourist experiences with the end-user in mind, organizers will be better able
to access workforce talent to meet demands, develop sustainable solutions, and make critical
decisions about the value that they will be able to provide. Ultimately, the merit of a voluntourist
venture should be judged by the following question, “will 80% of funds raised go towards the
communities served”? Or “will 80% of funds raised go towards traveling costs”?
International Journal of Health and Economic Development, 3(2), 28-37, July 2017 34
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voluntourism
Biddle, P., (2014) The Problem With Little White Girls, Boys and Voluntourism, Huffington
Post, February. https://www.huffingtonpost.com/pippa-biddle/little-white-girls-
voluntourism_b_4834574.html
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International Journal of Health and Economic Development, 3(2), 28-37, July 2017 36
Appendix
Country
Visited
Purpose
of Trip
Length
of Trip
Days of
Service
Number of
Volunteers
Cost Per
Person
Money Raised
for Charity
Albania
Medical
14
08
08
$1,000
$00,000
Belize
Non-Medical
09
05
06
$1,200
$03,000
Cambodia
Medical
14
10
22
$1,800
$03,640
Cameroon
Medical
05
02
04
$2,400
$07,500
Chile
Non-Medical
08
05
06
$3,300
$01,100
China
Medical
14
10
05
$3,000
$02,000
Colombia
Non-Medical
14
10
20
$1,600
$00,000
Costa Rica
Non-Medical
08
05
10
$2,800
$12,500
D. Republic
Non-Medical
10
07
21
$0,800
$00,000
El Salvador
Non-Medical
09
05
05
$1,800
$03,200
Guadeloupe
Medical
09
06
07
$2,300
$07,000
Guatemala
Non-Medical
07
04
06
$2,200
$06,500
Guatemala
Medical
05
03
07
$1,300
$07,000
Guyana
Medical
15
12
20
$1,200
$00,000
Guyana
Medical
07
05
08
$2,500
$00,000
Haiti
Medical
09
08
20
$1,900
$00,000
Haiti
Medical
07
05
15
$1,800
$00,000
Haiti
Medical
07
04
08
$2,500
$00,000
Haiti
Medical
09
07
07
$0,500
$00,000
Honduras
Medical
10
10
15
$0,600
$15,000
Honduras
Medical
10
06
11
$1,800
$08,500
Honduras
Medical
07
05
08
$2,500
$00,000
India
Medical
10
10
12
$2,100
$02,300
Lesotho
Non-Medical
10
03
14
$3,500
$05,000
Malawi
Non-Medical
10
02
02
$3,000
$10,000
Mexico
Medical
02
01
20
$1,000
$01,000
Mexico
Non-Medical
07
07
10
$0,300
$03,000
Mexico
Medical
01
01
13
$0,000
$00,300
Mexico
Medical
01
01
10
$0,300
$01,000
Mexico
Medical
05
03
05
$1,200
$02,500
Mexico
Medical
05
03
05
$1,200
$01,800
Mexico
Medical
05
03
05
$1,200
$01,500
Mexico
Medical
05
03
12
$1,500
$03,300
Mexico
Non-Medical
08
04
09
$1,700
$02,100
Mexico
Medical
01
01
18
$0,300
$00,800
Mexico
Medical
05
03
07
$2,000
$08,000
Mexico
Medical
05
03
05
$1,200
$02,000
Mexico
Medical
05
03
05
$1,200
$01,250
Mexico
Medical
05
05
14
$0,200
$00,000
Nigeria
Non-Medical
04
01
08
$2,500
$05,000
Panama
Medical
07
03
09
$1700
$07,200
Panama
Medical
07
04
05
$2,000
$04,500
Peru
Non-Medical
08
04
09
$3,100
$13,500
Peru
Medical
10
05
30
$2,000
$00,000
Peru
Non-medical
12
12
30
$2,000
$03,000
Philippines
Medical
08
06
15
$1,700
$01,700
Philippines
Medical
30
25
30
$2,500
$00,700
Philippines
Medical
14
08
22
$1,800
$04,400
Puerto Rico
Non-Medical
09
06
06
$3,000
$05,500
International Journal of Health and Economic Development, 3(2), 28-37, July 2017 37
Puerto Rico
Non-Medical
07
05
04
$3,000
$03,800
Puerto Rico
Non-Medical
07
05
06
$3,000
$04,800
Rwanda
Non-Medical
06
02
08
$2,400
$02,500
Swaziland
Medical
09
04
36
$3,200
$25,000
Thailand
Non-Medical
21
14
40
$3,000
$01,000
Thailand
Non-medical
14
12
21
$2,200
$00,500
Thailand
Non-Medical
10
04
04
$2,500
$05,000
Thailand
Medical
30
25
10
$2,500
$00,000
Trinidad
Medical
08
04
10
$1,100
$04,500
Zambia
Non-Medical
08
03
08
$2,800
$20,000
Zimbabwe
Non-Medical
10
02
02
$3,000
$20,000
38 Medical
551
362
597
$303,990
... The first consists of works that argue these missions do more harm than good since many are "one and done," lack sustainability, and are merely "voluntourism" designed mainly to accrue benefits to the participants rather than the residents of host countries. A weakness of these studies is they often present anecdotal data from a single, poorly conceived mission [7] [8] [9] [10] [11], or they focus on organizations that design STIHMs largely for the benefit of the participants rather than the residents of host countries [12] [13] [14]. However, even these works admit that with proper preparation, STIHMs benefit both the participants and the communities they endeavour to serve [12] [13] [16] [17] [18] [32]. ...
Article
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Short-term international humanitarian missions (STIHMs) are an increasingly common phenomenon by which volunteers from developed countries provide aid to residents of less-developed countries. Before conducting a STIHM, participants should learn about the host culture as well as ethical principles that obviate against the development of a saviour complex. The authors present the results of a study that examines the effectiveness of an academic preparatory course for undergraduate students who participate in STIHMs. The results demonstrate that such a course ensures participants have a greater knowledge of the host culture, a stronger ethical framework, and more confidence concerning their participation.
Article
Millions travel annually for short-term international service trips (STIST). These trips often involve volunteering with vulnerable children, including those in residential care (ex. orphanages). Though a prevalent practice, little research exists regarding how volunteers are prepared and what activities they engage in. The goal of the present study was to provide data on pre-trip preparation, in-country activities, and how these impacted volunteer perceptions of preparation and trip satisfaction. Participants (N = 353) answered questions about their experience with STIST. Results revealed that 32.0% did not complete any pre-trip requirements. Of those that had pre-tip requirements, background checks (31.7%) and training (58.1%) were most often reported. Training primarily focused on personal safety or culture. Most interacted with vulnerable children (94.6%) in-country. Of note, 231 (67.1%) participants interacted with children in that child’s residential space unsupervised. Participants who completed pre-trip requirements felt more prepared and satisfied with their trip. This data validates child protection concerns raised about STIST and outlines the scope of the concern. Sending agencies who coordinate volunteer trips have a vital role to play in increasing potential for benefits and decreasing potential for harm as related to STIST. Based on the findings, six recommendations were made for sending agencies.
Article
Full-text available
The purpose of this paper is to articulate a set of ethical standards for international volunteer tourism. The standards are focused on promoting fair trade learning principles in the management and operation of volunteer programmes. Because of the unique social mission, research, and evaluation capacities of higher education, we propose first applying these principles specifically to international volunteer programmes operating at the university-community nexus. These standards have emerged through a collaborative, in-person and online process during the last two years with input by numerous concerned global citizens, international education practitioners and researchers, nongovernmental organization representatives, and community members. The document shared below represents current ‘best practice’ for maximizing the benefits and minimizing the negative impacts of volunteer tourism programmes for both host communities and volunteers.
Article
Full-text available
Volunteer tourism is an increasingly popular form of travel that is attracting growing research attention. Nevertheless, existing research has focused primarily on the benefits of volunteer tourism, and many studies have simply involved profiling volunteers or investigating their motivations. However, there are numerous possible negative impacts of volunteer tourism that deserve increased attention from both researchers and project managers: a neglect of locals' desires, a hindering of work progress and completion of unsatisfactory work, a disruption of local economies, a reinforcement of conceptualisations of the ‘other’ and rationalisations of poverty, and an instigation of cultural changes. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Article
Well-meaning volunteer tourism organizations, involving international volunteers in local community and environmental development projects, have been increasingly criticized for increasingly commercialized business models. This conceptual paper reviews important organizational drivers that influence the commercialization of the volunteer tourism sector. It posits a number of predictive measures based upon the internal and external drivers that will determine a volunteer tourism organization's position along a philanthropic-commercial continuum. It achieves this by building on lessons from the broader nonprofit sector, including research in social entrepreneurship. It also suggests topics for further research based upon this literature and current knowledge gaps within volunteer tourism. Further research in this area will assist organizations engaged in, or considering, volunteer tourism to think pragmatically about issues of commercialization within this sector‥
Article
This article expands current knowledge of the impact that brief but intense religious experiences can have on routine behavior by examining the long-term effects of short-term mission travel on both volunteering and charitable giving. Existing literature addresses only the first few years after travel. Using data from the 2005 Religion and Global Issues Survey, I examine how participation in a domestic or international religious mission trip in high school influences adults’ volunteering and giving behavior. I also consider alternate explanations that may account for the relationship between high school mission-trip participation and current giving or volunteering, including demographic factors, religious beliefs and practices, and other forms of civic engagement. I find adolescent participation in a domestic short-term mission trip has a significant, positive influence on the likelihood of volunteering for either a local or an internationally focused organization as an adult. In contrast, adolescent participation in a domestic mission trip has a significant dampening effect on charitable giving to secular organizations. I find no significant associations between international high school trips and adult volunteering and giving when additional factors are taken into account. I discuss the implications of these results for the ways church leaders and scholars think about the mechanisms through which brief, transformative religious experiences influence beliefs and behavior over the course of a lifetime.
Article
The following trends and issues are faced everyday on the foreign field and need to be analyzed and evaluated before getting involved so as to know how to plan and react. This is a vital area of training for the contemporary foreign missionary.
Article
With the growing trend of volunteer vacations, research has been warranted in regard to understanding the motivational factors of individuals who participate in such endeavors. With this understanding, the goal is to increase these travel offerings in the industry, which will bring better understanding between cultures. This study examines different travel motivation factors for someone who chooses to use part of their vacation participating in volunteer or humanitarian activities. Considering that ‘mission’ often has connotations of a religious purpose, the phrase ‘travelling with a purpose’ brings on even more significance as this concept expands. To understand travel motivation in general, a variety of scales and theories have been researched. Maslow, Dann, Iso-Ahola, Plog and Pearce are some included in the Literature Review. A qualitative focus group and semi-structured, in-depth interviews were conducted. The analysis of the data revealed that four main themes for why people traveled with a purpose emerged. Cultural immersion was a strong objective; the desire to give back; the camaraderie that occurs on volunteer vacations; and the fourth theme focused on family. Non-verbal communication and bonding occurs at several levels with the local people and family members. This is a good example of cultivating peace through tourism.
The Economics of Volunteer Travel, Go Overseas
  • P Biddle
Biddle, P., (2017) The Economics of Volunteer Travel, Go Overseas, October 20. https://www.gooverseas.com/industry-trends/voluntourist-dilemma/the-economics-ofvoluntourism
The Problem With Little White Girls, Boys and Voluntourism, Huffington Post
  • P Biddle
Biddle, P., (2014) The Problem With Little White Girls, Boys and Voluntourism, Huffington Post, February. https://www.huffingtonpost.com/pippa-biddle/little-white-girls-voluntourism_b_4834574.html
Before You Pay to Volunteer Abroad, Think of the Harm you Might Do, The Guardian
  • I Birrell
Birrell, I., (2010) Before You Pay to Volunteer Abroad, Think of the Harm you Might Do, The Guardian, November. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2010/nov/14/orphans-cambodia-aidsholidays-madonna
Help Not Always Needed: The Problem with Volunteer Tourism for NGOs is it doesn't do much good
  • A Freidus
Freidus, A., (2017) Help Not Always Needed: The Problem with Volunteer Tourism for NGOs is it doesn't do much good, Quartz Africa https://qz.com/1124920/voluntourism-ngovolunteers-turned-tourists-are-a-problem-in-africa/