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Volunteer tourism : at the crossroads of commercialization and service?

Tomazos, Konstantinos and Cooper, William (2012) Volunteer tourism : at the crossroads of commercialization and service? Current Issues in Tourism, iFirst ar. pp. 1-20. ISSN 1368-3500


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Volunteer tourism as a phenomenon and as a market has come a long way since its ideologically driven early days. It is now an established and ever commercialised market that meets the demand for a different travel experience for the more morally conscious traveller, while the same time it provides opportunities for economic gain for the organisations that act as brokers of such experiences. This interaction raises several ethical issues in terms of serving a mission while making economic gains. In general there is an acceptable relationship between monetary gain and altruistic service, within the context of enlightened self-interest provided that the beneficiary of economic gains diverts profits into serving their mission. This paper examines the supply for volunteer tourism for evidence of commercialisation and profit driven behaviour and investigates a relationship between monetary gain and serving a mission by creating public goods.