Mat Gendle and Amanda Tapler author essay on ethical concerns related to voluntourism programs

The director and associate director of Project Pericles at Elon published the essay in the journal, Tourism in Paradise

Director of Project Pericles and Professor of Psychology Mathew Gendle and Associate Director of Project Pericles and Senior Lecturer in Public Health Studies Amanda Tapler have co-authored an essay appearing in the most recent issue of the journal Tourism in Paradise.

Published by the Department of Tourism Management, Faculty of Management Studies and Sabaragamuwa University of Sri Lanka, Tourism in Paradise provides a forum for academics, travel and hospitality industry professionals, government officials and university students to engage in constructive dialogue about economic development and ethical practice related to tourism.

In this work, entitled “The problem with voluntourism,” the authors provide an overview of the significant ethical concerns that are associated with many voluntourism programs. From the article:

“The term voluntourism (a portmanteau of volunteer and tourism) has come to represent a wide array of travel experiences that combine traditional tourist activities with a few days of unpaid and informal community service work, typically for a charity or NGO. Within many sectors of the global tourism market, there has been an increased interest in voluntourism. In particular, demand for voluntourist experiences has increased dramatically in markets that cater to university students, young adults, and other people from high-income countries who wish to engage in a “travel experience that matters”. Although we recognize the noble intentions that motivate people to seek out travel experiences where they feel they can make a difference, these good intentions are simply not enough. As a practice, voluntourism has the potential to generate substantially more harm to host communities than good, and we believe that tourism operators should end the practice of providing tourists with short-term community-based service experiences as they are currently conceptualized.”

Full-text of the essay can be accessed here:

The full citation for this essay is:

Gendle, M. & Tapler, A. (2022). The problem with voluntourism. Tourism in Paradise, 5, 51-53.