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ATLAS SIG Volunteer Tourism WEBINAR
Wednesday 24 February 2021
10.00 CET

Volunteer tourism & Covid-19: Challenges & opportunities





This webinar will bring together academics and practitioners to discuss the challenges and opportunities that volunteer tourism faces during/after the Covid-19 crisis. On the one hand, the pandemic may further expose the well-known dependency of many development programmes and organisations on volunteer tourists, further questioning their (economic and social) sustainability, their underpinning power relations, etc. On the other hand, the current challenges could accelerate the critical rethinking of previous VT practices, encouraging creative solutions to both (new) practical and (old) ethical problems.

Participation is free for ATLAS members and non-members. Registration for the webinar is required. You can fill in this form.

Please be aware of the different time zones:

      Start Webinar
GMT Greenwich Mean Time UK CET-1 9.00
CET Central European Time Netherlands, Sweden, Spain CET 10.00
WAT West African Time Tunisia, Morocco, Nigeria CET 10.00
EET Eastern Europe Time Finland    CET+1 11.00
SAST South Africa Standard Time South Africa, Namibia, Botswana CET+1 11.00
EAT Eastern Africa Time Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia CET+2 12.00
CST China Standard Time China    CET+7 17.00
NZDT New Zealand Daylight Time New Zealand CET+12 22.00




Guest speakers

Samantha Murdy

Dr Samantha Murdy is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Strathclyde Business School. Her research explores tourism impacts, with a focus on destination branding, sustainability, visitor relationship management, and visitor behaviour. Samantha’s interest in volunteer tourism extends her previous work as her current research explores volunteer tourist perceptions and stakeholder implications within the sector.


Konstantinos Tomazos

Dr Konstantinos Tomazos is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Strathclyde Business School. His main research interests include tourist experiences, liminality, tourist motivations and behaviour, ethics, and social entrepreneurship. He is particularly interested in volunteer tourism research, and he has participated in volunteer projects in different parts of the world. Konstantinos explores both the volunteer tourism industry's demand and supply side in his work, highlighting key controversies and the pragmatic aspect of the projects and their impact.

Salin Rin

Salin is Director of Treak Community Centre, a Cambodian NGO school near Siem Reap/Angkor Wat.  Established in 2007, around 500 children/young adults attend Treak's free classes: kindergarden, English, science, geography, library, young adult programme, plus an adult sewing school. Growing up during the fighting between government forces and the Khmer Rouge, Salin experienced hardship and poverty first hand.  Treak’s motto: “Creating Opportunities not Dependency” reflects her belief in empowering people through training and building self-confidence. Volunteers are important partners at Treak, providing resources and much needed cultural exchange.  Developing the e-volunteering programme with people & places is proving invaluable for 2021, and the future.

Sallie Grayson

Sallie is co-founder and programme director of People and Places – a social enterprise matching volunteers and local communities around the world. people and places was established with the sole purpose of proving that ethical volunteering really can be done., people and places does not “manage projects” but works in partnership with organisations, such as Treak ensuring that the volunteer programme is needs lead. Their most recent  award was for innovation in responsible travel – www.e-volunteer – enabling volunteers to support the programmes without leaving home! people and places have worked closely with Treak to develop this e-volunteer initiative.


Stephen Wearing

Dr. Stephen Wearing is retired but remains adjunct at the University of Technology Sydney. His research and projects are in the area of Leisure and Tourism Studies, with  contributions in many areas including ecotourism, volunteer tourism and community development, the importance of community based approaches in the leisure, recreation and tourism sector formed the focus of his research.


Elisa Burrai

Dr Elisa Burrai is a Senior lecturer in the School of Events, Tourism and Hospitality Management at Leeds Beckett University (UK). Elisa’s research focuses on the intersection between tourism, responsibility and ethics. Her research interests include interdisciplinary approaches to volunteer tourism, global development, tourism ethnographies and development in the Global South.

Davide Sterchele

Dr Davide Sterchele is a Senior lecturer in the School of Events, Tourism and Hospitality Management at Leeds Beckett University (UK). Underpinned by a qualitative, interpretive sociological approach, Davide’s research mainly focuses on interaction rituals and inclusive/exclusive dynamics in tourism, events, sport and leisure.




10:00 CET – Opening greetings from ATLAS (Tara Duncan – Dalarna University)
10:05 CET – Introduction from the Volunteer Tourism SIG coordinators (Elisa Burrai & Davide Sterchele – Leeds Beckett University)
10:10 CET – Volunteer tourism & Covid-19: challenges & opportunities (Konstantinos Tomazos & Samantha Murdy – University of Strathclyde)
10:25 CET – The practitioner’s perspective from the field (Rin Salin – CONCERT & Treak Community Center, Siem Reap, Cambodia)
10:40 CET – Resilience and innovation through e-volunteering (Sallie Grayson – People and Places: Responsible Tourism)
10:55 CET – Post-pandemic volunteer tourism: reflections and directions – (Stephen Wearing – University of Technology Sydney)
11:10 CET – Q&A round table
11:30 CET – Conclusion





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