ATLAS Special Interest Group
Volunteer Tourism Research Group
The contact persons for this research group are:
In 2020 we organised a special track on Volunteer Tourism titled ‘New frontiers in volunteer tourism research’ which should have been held in Prague at the ATLAS annual conference 2020. The call for abstracts was well received among scholars who are researching/interested in volunteer tourism. We received 7 abstracts which were all very interesting and thought-provoking.
Following the postponement of the conference due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we will relaunch the same call for abstracts next year and we look forward to attend those sessions, either live or online. Meanwhile, we will hold a virtual meeting with the members of the VT SIG in September to outline a participatory discussion of the SIG's future plans and developments.
These will include the organisation of a VT SIG track for the next ATLAS annual conference and possible ways of developing joint publication plans, such as special issues on VT.
The seminar series is organised by Dr Angela M Benson (University ofBrighton) in collaboration with Dr Konstantinos Tomazos (University of Strathclyde) and Dr Mark Hampton (University of Kent).
The event is supported by ATLAS Volunteer Tourism Research Group.
'Volunteering', 'development' and 'tourism' have all beendiscussed within national (domestic) and international contexts and underpinned by a range of disciplines, most notably sociology, development studies, leisure studies, tourism studies and management and business studies. However what is less evident are discussions bringing these fields together and opening up debate about the overlaps and mismatches between the volunteering experience in practice and the purported theoretical underpinning.
These mismatches are also evident in practitioner debates where not-for-profit companies (predominantly associated with development initiatives) criticise more commercial tourism operators, only to change their own services later to stay competitive in a complex, fragmented and changing marketplace.
The growing levels of criticism around international volunteering are evident in many arenas; in academic literature, practitioner comments and media reports. Individuals, practitioners, communities and governments as well as researchers therefore need to engage in 'reconceptualising' their perceptions of volunteering and particularly international volunteering as both a theoretical and a practical undertaking.
This seminar series is designed to offer an opportunity to do just this: recognising the need to broaden discussions beyond any singleacademic field; engaging international speakers from all the areas under discussion and ensuring that practitioners are fully engaged with academic researchers. The series is both innovative and timely in addressing these discourses.
Whilst the seminar series may not answer all the questions, it will engage in informed discourses that help formulate future research agendas that are international in focus.
Seminar 1. Blurred Boundaries of International Volunteering
Wed, 11th February 2015, University of Brighton, Eastbourne Campus
This seminar seeks to engage discussion around a number of issues /questions. To what extent does domestic volunteering engage in dialogue with international volunteering? For example, a recent book entitled Volunteering and Society in the 21st Century (Rochester, et al. 2010) mentions volunteertourism once (p.111), although there is rather more discussion (pp. 13-15) on Serious Leisure (Stebbins and Graham 2004; Stebbins 2007). Do domestic volunteers also engage in volunteering overseas? If they do, does this influence the type of volunteering after their return? To what extent does international volunteering influence the values of global citizenship? To what extent arevolunteers who travel to be involved in a mega event part of this debate (at London 2012, 3% of the Gamesmakers were international volunteers (Dickson and Benson, 2013)? To what extent do international development organisations now offer short-term tourism type services? To what extent has this changed their funding / mission statements? To what extent has the large corporations engaging in volunteering as a product influenced the marketplace? (e.g. i to i was bought by First Choice Holidays, a profit maximizing firm).
Seminar 2. International Volunteering and the Millennium Development Goals: Making a Difference?
Wed, 25th March 2015, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, Scotland
Whilst delivering on the millennium development goals (UNDP, 2005) are often seen through the lens of ‘development studies’. The United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) engages in rhetoric of using tourism as a vehicle to help deliver poverty alleviation. In both of these discourses International volunteering plays a key role. Whilst the websites of companies and indeed,volunteers engage in a dialogue of ‘making a difference’ (Fee and Mdee, 2011; Hindle et al., 2007, Raymond, 2008) this seminar will take a critical review of making a difference to whom (e.g. the volunteer (CV building); the companies (profits from emotive selling)). Government initiatives such the DFID, International Citizen Service will be used as a vehicle to discuss the use of a range of organisations both development and tourism focused to deliver on their agenda. An area that has also received DFID funding in the past, yet is still an under researched area but enormous potential to deliver on the MDG’s is that of diaspora volunteering (Scheyvens, 2007; DVA, 2013).
Seminar 3. Examining the ‘Self’(volunteer) and the ‘Other’(communities)
Fri, 26 June 2015, University of Kent, Canterbury Campus
This seminar is designed to examine the two of primary stakeholders of international volunteering and the interface between them. Within the literature, the voice of the volunteer is predominant (McGehee and Santos, 2005; Brown and Lehto, 2005; Campbell and Smith, 2006) and more specifically the ‘Self’ (Wearing and Neil, 2000; Wearing and Deane, 2003; Wickens 2011) while the voice of the community is rarer although gathering momentum. Discourses around the areas of ‘they [being the community] are poor but happy’; international volunteering as neo-colonialism; the volunteer continuum of altruism to egoistic (Tomazos and Butler, 2010) will underpin the debates of this seminar. As part of the discussion on volunteers in this seminar the recent Evaluation of DFID’s International Citizens’ Service (ICS) Pilot Programme (DFID, 2012, p.10) will of interest in that 7.9% of the volunteers returned earlier than expected, half of these (48 volunteers) returned due discipline / behaviour issues.
Seminar 4. Impact, Sustainability and Legacy
Wednesday April 20th, 2016, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, Scotland
Confirmed speakers to date:
Dr Jurgen Grotz, University of East Anglia and Institute for Volunteering Research
Dr Konstantinos Tomazos, University of Strathclyde
This seminar will provide an opportunity to fully explore the impact, sustainability and legacy of International Volunteering. In particular the session debates orphanages (Richter and Norman, 2010; Slowe, 2010)) and therole of international volunteering where good intentions have created an untenable position. Further, there is much debate over the problems of short terms volunteering missions, however, what is not part of the these debates and perhaps should be is that often companies have been in destinations 10, 15 and in some case 20 years and whilst the volunteers are short term the projects and their commitment to communities are not (Benson, 2011).
MORE INFORMATION ON SEMINAR 4
Seminar 5. Evaluation of quality initiatives in International Volunteering
Friday June 24th, 2016, University of Kent, Canterbury Campus
Evaluation of quality initiatives in International Volunteering (Kent) – This seminar is in response to the growing number of quality related issues surrounding international volunteering – example: in a recent discussion with Volunteering England they indicated that they were now receiving calls from international volunteers who were concerned about their poor overseas experience. Volunteering England indicated that they log these calls but do not have the capacity or remit to deal with the issues. Consequently, this seminar builds on and further develops from the ‘Pursuing Quality in International Volunteering’ workshop (held in Brighton 2013), which was funded by the ESRC as part of the Festival of Social Science. It will report lessons learnt from the workshop, update on current quality initiatives and further consider the way forward for this sector.
MORE INFORMATION ON SEMINAR 5
Seminar 6. The Future of International Volunteering
Monday July 18th, 2016, University of Brighton, Eastbourne Campus
Confirmed speakers to date:
Dr Stephen Wearing, University of Technology, Sydney, Australia and author of: Volunteer Tourism: experiences that make a difference
Dr Nick Ockenden, Institute for Volunteering Research
This seminar will reflect upon the series of seminars and consider the future of international volunteering, part of this reflection will be to examine the dissemination during the series. The focus of the afternoon breakout sessions is to create further networking opportunities between academics and practitioners in order to leave a lasting legacy and to consider the setting of the future research agenda.
MORE INFORMATION ON SEMINAR 6
Dr Angela Benson, University of Brighton: email@example.com
Registration is free. However, attendees are advised to book early, as places are limited. Website and booking details will be shortly available.
The Volunteer Tourism Research Group has been active now for eight years. The group has been busy with papers / books, seminars, special themes at conferences. The following is an overview of what has been happening during 2016. It also highlights a publication opportunities in 2016-2017.
This year saw the final three seminars for the ESRC funded Seminar Series entitled ‘Reconceptualising International Volunteering’. Each of the seminars aims to include an overseas speaker, a practitioner and an academic. Seminar 4: Impact, Sustainability and Legacy (University of Strathclyde, Glasgow) included speakers Wandra Vrasti (from Berlin)and author of the Global South: Giving Back in Neoliberal Times; Dr Jurgen Grotz, University of East Anglia and NCVO Institute for Volunteering Research; Peter Bishop, Tourism Concern: Action for Ethical Tourism and Dr Konstantinos Tomazos (also one of the organisers of the seminar series)from the University of Strathclyde talking on the controversial topic of “Orphan Tourism in Cambodia”. Seminar 5: Evaluation of quality initiatives in International Volunteering (University of Kent) included International Speaker Professor Nancy McGehee Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, USA; Hugh Felton, ABTA, the leading association of travel agents and tour operators; Dr Jim Butcher, Canterbury Christ Church University and Dr Angela M Benson as the ISO convenor for the International Volunteer Tourism Standards. Seminar 6: The Future of International Volunteering (University of Brighton) at this final seminar we were very pleased to welcome Dr Stephen Wearing as the international speaker from the University of Technology, Sydney, Australia and author of: Volunteer Tourism: experiences that make a difference; Dr Peter Slowe, Founder and Director of the Projects Abroad, headquartered in the UK; Liz Wilson, CEO of Supporting Kids in Peru (SKIP) who gave us insight into the challenging issue of volunteering and children; Richard Nimmo, Managing Director of Blue Ventures: beyond conservation and Nick Ockenden, National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO). We were also pleased to invite back Professor Harold Goodwin (he spoke at seminar 3) who acted as rapporteur.
I received many emails from all over the world saying that it was with regret that they could not make some of the seminars – so in order to try and combat this, all the speakers were videoed. The IT team at the University of Brighton are now working on a Website which will host all of the keynote material. The videos will be available via Youtube but linked to via the website. It is anticipated this will be ready for September 2016. This should be a great resource for academics and practitioners working and researching in the area of volunteer tourism and more broadly international volunteering.
The Edited Book entitled International Sport Volunteering’ by Angela M Benson (University of Brighton) and Nick Wise (Asia University, Taiwan) is almost finished and should be available Early 2017. The book of 12 chapters will examine international sport volunteering though two main lenses - sport development and sport events. Whilst it is recognised that sport in an international context is happening, there is actually very little literature on the topic and most sport volunteering is written within national contexts. As such, this book aims to address this gap.
Special Track at the ATLAS Annual Conference, Canterbury, September 2016
Volunteer Tourism: travelling for a change? convened by Jim Butcher and Angela M Benson and sponsored by the ATLAS Volunteer Tourism Research Group and the American Association of Geographers’ Recreation, Sport & Tourism group.
NEW for 2017 – 2018
Opportunities for publishing will be announced shortly….
“Reconceptualising International Volunteering” – following the ESRC seminar series, chapters in the following areas will be welcomed:
• Blurred Boundaries of International Volunteering
• International Volunteering and the Sustainable Development Goals: Making a Difference?
• Examining the ‘Self’ (volunteer) and the ‘Other’ (communities)
• Impact, Sustainability and Legacy
• Evaluation of quality initiatives in International Volunteering
• The Future of International Volunteering
Worldwide Hospitality and Tourism Themes (WHATT) The Volunteer Tourism Research Group have already been asked to put together a follow up special issue for this journal 2016 – 2017. If you are interested contact Angela M Benson.
The Volunteer Tourism Research Group has been active for seven years. The group has been busy with papers / books, seminars, special themes at conferences and special issues. The following is an overview of what has been happening during 2015. It also highlights a few activities and opportunities for involvement / publication in 2016-2017.
ESRC funded Seminar Series entitled ‘Reconceptualising International Volunteering’
This year saw the first three seminars taking place. Each of the seminars aims to include an overseas speaker, a practitioner and an academic. Seminar 1 – Blurred Boundaries of International Volunteering - was held at the University of Brighton, speakers included David Clemmons (USA); Anna Mdee (University of Bradford) and Angela Ellis Paine (University of Birmingham). The second seminar - International Volunteering and the Millennium Development Goals: Making a Difference? – was held in Glasgow (University of Strathclyde) with keynotes by Matt Baillie Smith, (Northumbria University); Mary Mostafanezhad (University of Hawai’i at Manoa) and Tony Spence from Raleigh International (UK volunteer organiation). The third seminar - Examining the ‘Self’ (volunteer) and the ‘Other’ (communities) - was held at the University of Kent and included Harold Goodwin (Manchester Metropolitan University); Caroline Walsh (a volunteer and Research Associate); Zoe alexander (South Africa) and Sally Grayson from People and Places, a UK volunteer organisation.
The final three seminars
- Impact, Sustainability and Legacy (Strathclyde)
- Evaluation of quality initiatives in International Volunteering (Kent)
- The Future of International Volunteering (Brighton)
will be held during 2016 – the dates and speakers will be released shortly.
Worldwide Hospitality and Tourism Themes (WHATT) - Why and how should the international volunteer tourism experience be improved? Volume 7 Number 2, 2015. The nine articles examines underlying and current criticisms of volunteer tourism by drawing on a range of stakeholder perspectives and sources to identify common strands related to ‘why’ volunteer tourism needs to be improved. Initiated at a conference on the topic, the issue blends research-based and viewpoint articles, academic analysis and practitioner insight to produce the most comprehensive and authoritative review to-date. The issue also addresses ‘how’ volunteer tourism could be improved and the extent to which mechanisms are, or could be, put in place to encourage the adoption of best practice.The issue incorporates analysis of international projects in developing countries with case studies from Botswana, Nepal, Guatemala and Peru and a range of different types of project: wildlife and conservation, orphanages and both child and health-related volunteering.
The Volunteer Tourism Research Group have already been asked to put together a follow up special issue for this journal 2016 – 2017. If you are interested contact Angela M Benson.
Special Conference Streams
During 2014 two special streams were held, the first was the special stream for Volunteer Tourism (2014) which was part of the ATLAS annual conference, in Hungary (October 2014). Four interesting papers were submitted one of which was included in the WHATT special issue.
The second special stream organised by Harng Luh Sin (National University of Singapore) and Angela M. Benson (University of Brighton) was "Volunteer Tourism: Pushing the Boundaries" which was part of the 24th Nordic Symposium in Tourism and Hospitality and Research, held in Reykjavik, Iceland, September 2015. This session called for papers that did not seek to replicate what has already been undertaken but wanted to engage in debates, both theoretical and empirically underpinned, that moved the research agenda forward by critically questioning and unpacking volunteer tourism as a global social phenomena. Of the fifteen papers submitted a total of nine papers were presented. It is envisaged a book / special issue of the same title will be forthcoming and we will put out a call shortly for others who might be interested to contribute.
New for 2016 – 2017
Angela M Benson (University of Brighton) and Nick Wise (Asia University, Taiwan) have just signed the contract with Routledge to complete an edited book entitled ‘International Sport Volunteering’. The book will examine international sport volunteering though two main lenses - sport development and sport events. Whilst it is recognised that sport in an international context is happening, there is actually very little literature on the topic and most sport volunteering is written within national contexts. As such, this book aims to address this gap. Whilst most of the chapters have now been accepted, if you have a chapter you think would fit into this – please do contact Angela or Nick - there’s always room for one more!
Look out for details of the International Conference on ‘International Volunteering’ to be held at the University of Brighton in July 2016.
The research group has been active for six years. Whilst last year’s review was a reflection on the first five years of this SIG, this year I would like to tell you about the activities of 2014 and in particular our ‘great news’ but also other publishing opportunities coming up.
An ESRC Seminar Series Grant has been secured entitled ‘Reconceptualising International Volunteering’ which supports two years of funded seminars. This was a submission lead by the University of Brighton with the Universities of Kent and Strathclyde and supported by the ATLAS SIG on Volunteer Tourism. The first of the six seminars will take place in January 2015 at the University of Brighton. It will be great opportunity for members of the SIG and others interested in this area of research to get together.
The Worldwide Hospitality and Tourism Themes (WHATT) journal will publish a special issue based around the theme of ‘pursuing quality in volunteer tourism’ which will be published in 2015. The special issue is the output from the ESRC Festival of Social Science funded event (2013) - Pursuing Quality in International Volunteering; held at the University of Brighton, Brighton, UK. This event and funding would not have been possible without the ATLAS Volunteer Tourism Group, who also sponsored along with Blue Ventures and Biosphere Expeditions the post event drinks.
A special stream for Volunteer Tourism (2014) was part of the ATLAS annual conference, in Hungary (October 2014).
There is another special issue being planned for 2016 entitled ‘International Sport Volunteering’ (with Nick Wise from the University of Glasgow). It was felt that research into sport volunteering within national boundaries is reasonably well developed, and therefore more research is needed to evaluate the impact and assess sport volunteering in international contexts at a range of scales to critically frame successes and limitations to the wider body of volunteering literature. Details will be circulated shortly but if this is your area and you want to talk about submitting a paper please contact me.
As part of the dissemination from the ESRC Seminar Series there will be a number of opportunities for publishing.
International Conference on ‘International Volunteering’ to be held at the University of Brighton in July 2016.
The research group has been active for five years. Therefore, I thought it perhaps was time to reflect upon this. During this time, a number of activities and outputs have been achieved. Members of the group have participated in the events and contributed to the outputs alongside a growing number of academics not directly involved with the group but researching in the area of volunteering and volunteer tourism.
ESRC Festival of Social Science funded event - Pursuing Quality in International Volunteering; held at the University of Brighton, Brighton. The ATLAS Volunteer Tourism Group along with Blue Ventures and Biosphere Expeditions sponsored the post event drinks.
Benson, A.M., Tilbur, J and Wickens, E. (2012) Editorial: Sustainable Tourism Management and Marketing. Journal of Hospitality Marketing and Management. 21(7): 703-709.
This special edition was the output from the 2010 special stream on Travel Philanthropy, Volunteer and Charity Tourism. Two of the five papers focused on volunteer tourism.
Benson, A. M. (2011) (ed.) Volunteer Tourism: Theoretical Framework and Practical Applications. Abingdon, UK: Routledge.
This edited book was the output from the 2009 Volunteering and Tourism Symposium and members of the Volunteer Tourism Research Group.
Special Stream Convener: Travel Philanthropy, Volunteer and Charity Tourism at the International Conference Sustainable Tourism: Issues, Debates and Challenges. April 22nd – 26th, 2010, Crete and Santorini, Greece.
2009 Lyons, K. Wearing, S. and Benson, A. M. (2009) Editorial: Introduction to the Special Issue on Volunteer Tourism. Annals of Leisure Research, 12 (3&4): 269-271.
This special issue was the output from the 2009 Volunteering and Tourism Symposium.
Angela M Benson as co-convener with Dr Stephen Wearing and Dr Kevin Lyons for: Volunteering and Tourism Symposium: Developing a Research Agenda – Linking Industry and Academia. ATLAS / CAUTHE. 14th -15th June, Singapore @ James Cook University, Singapore Campus. Keynote speakers were: Dr Stephen Wearing and Professor Robert A. Stebbins.
Volunteer Tourism Research Group commenced (July 2008).
Whilst it was anticipated that the ATLAS / CAUTHE Volunteer SIGS would organise a symposium every other year this has not come to fruition and so, after a number of conversations, with members and other interested academics, there is a plan to run a volunteering conference in 2014/2015.
Planned output activity: A special issue based around the theme of ‘pursuing quality in volunteer tourism’ is currently being organised.
The research group has been active since its inaugural meeting in July 2008. There are approximately 40 members from across the globe. The Volunteer Tourism Special Interest Group was set up to provide a network for critical discussion on volunteering within the tourism sector. The objectives to do this were established as:
- To identify, synthesise and discuss problem areas
- To advance volunteer tourism research
- To develop best practice case study material
- To provide a platform for critical discussion
- To disseminate research findings
In ATLAS Reflections 2009 (May) it was reported that the forthcoming first international Volunteering and Tourism Symposium: Developing a Research Agenda — Linking Industry and Academia was to be held June 14th -15th 2009 at the James Cook University, Singapore Campus. The symposium was organized by Associate Professor Stephen Wearing and Dr. Kevin Lyons, chairs of the volunteering and tourism SIG for the Council for Australian University Tourism and Hospitality Education (CAUTHE) and Dr. Angela M Benson on behalf of the ATLAS Volunteer Tourism SIG. As little detail was available for the last report, this reflection will include an update.
Volunteering and Tourism Symposium, June 2009.
The programme for the Symposium included a Full Paper Round Table Session where seven papers were introduced by the authors. Symposium members then had the opportunity of engaging in critical discussion with each other and the authors. A further fourteen papers were presented in five themed sessions (1) New Directions in Volunteer Tourism (2) Volunteer Tourists and Personal Development (3) Volunteering in Tourism Contexts (4) Development of Host Communities (5) The Industry of Volunteering and Tourism: Some Perspectives. In addition, Stephen Wearing and Robert A Stebbins gave keynotes.
The outcome of the symposium was a special issue in the Annals of Leisure Research, entitled Special Issue on Volunteer Tourism; Volume 12, Number 3&4, 2009. This double volume was edited by Kevin Lyons, Stephen Wearing, and Angela M Benson. The contents included an introduction to the special issue, an invited paper by Elery Hamilton-Smith and seven papers by international scholars.
Book: Volunteer Tourism: Theoretical Frameworks and Practical Applications
The main focus of the SIG since its inception has been a book, which is to be published by Routledge later this year (December 2010). It is edited by Angela M Benson and is the result of contributions from members of the volunteer tourism research group and the June 2009 symposium. The edited book includes a wide range of contributions with examples from around the globe, and whilst some of the chapters begin to broaden the thinking about the boundaries of volunteer tourism, it is evident that there are still areas with little or no discussion. The final chapter seeks to address this and offers an insight into structuring the research agenda for volunteer tourism.
Special Stream: Travel Philanthropy, Volunteer and Charity Tourism, April 2010
The organizers (Eugenia Wickens and Jenny Briedenhann, Bucks New University, UK; Marios Sotiriades, TEI of Crete, Greece) of the Sustainable Tourism: Issues, Debates and Challenges Conference invited the ATLAS Volunteer Tourism Research Group to run a special stream at their conference in Crete, April 2010. This was a great opportunity for colleagues to get together and in total, sixteen papers were accepted. Unfortunately, the conference coincided with the volcanic ash disruptions and whilst the conference did proceed, many colleagues were unable to attend. The proposed outcome for the special stream is a special issue which is currently being negotiated.
Special Interest Tourism and Destination Management Conference, April 2011
The organizers of the Sustainable Tourism conference (above) are coordinating a conference on Special Interest Tourism in Katmandu, Nepal, 27th -30th April 2011. Although, there is not a special stream on volunteering it has been agreed that if there are sufficient papers the ATLAS SIG will chair the volunteer tourism session. Further details of the conference can be found at www.specialnepal.com or email the chair of the SIG firstname.lastname@example.org.
Final reflective thought, as Chair of the SIG I look forward to liaising with members to develop next year’s agenda.
Download brochure: Conference announcement and call for papers
Special Stream on: Travel Philanthropy, Volunteer and Charity Tourism at the International Conference on Sustainable Tourism: Issues, Debates & Challenges, 22th - 25th April 2010 in Crete & Santorini, Greece
More information can be found at: http://sustainablecrete.com
Co-convener: Volunteering and Tourism Symposium, June 2009, Singapore.
More information can be found at: http://www.besteducationnetwork.org/ttix/symposium_voluntering.php
Editorial Board: Journal of International Volunteer Tourism and Social Development
More information can be found at: http://www.tandf.co.uk/journals/1754-6362
Convener: Volunteer Tourism Research Group. An ATLAS Special Interest Group
More information can be found at: http://www.atlas-euro.org/
Scientific Committee: European Conference on Research Methodology for Business & Management Studies 2009
More information can be found at: http://academic-conferences.org/ecrm/ecrm2009/ecrm09-home.htm
Special stream convener:
Angela M. Benson
Discipline Head - Tourism and Travel
University of Brighton
School of Service Management
Tel: 01273 643621
Fax: 01273 643949
Developing a Research Agenda - Linking Industry and Academia
14th - 15th June 2009
ATLAS and CAUTHE Networking together
The conveners of the symposium are delighted to announce that Robert A Stebbins and Stephen Wearing will be the keynote speakers at the forthcoming Volunteering and Tourism Symposium, to be held in Singapore at the James Cook University Campus.
Robert A. Stebbins, FRSC, is Faculty Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Calgary. He received his Ph.D. in 1964 from the University of Minnesota. Author of 30 books and monographs as well as over 150 articles and chapters in several areas of social science, his most recent works include: New Directions in the Theory and Research of Serious Leisure (Edwin Mellen, 2001), Exploratory Research in the Social Sciences (Sage, 2001), and The Organizational Basis of Leisure Participation: A Motivational Exploration (Venture Publications, 2002). Between Work and Leisure (Transaction Publishers) appeared in 2004 and Challenging Mountain Nature (Detselig), a study of three mountain hobbyist sports, will be published in fall, 2005. He is presently writing for Indiana University Press (with David Horton Smith and Michael Dover). A Dictionary of Nonprofit Terms and Concepts. Stebbins was elected Fellow of the Academy of Leisure Sciences in 1996 and, in 1999, elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. Of his 33 books published or in press, 19 centre exclusively or substantially one aspect or another of serious and casual leisure.
Stephen Wearing is an Associate Professor at the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS). He has taught at a variety of University's in his 23 year career. He has received awards from Industry and Governments for his work in the Leisure and Tourism fields. In teaching he has a UTS excellence in teaching award and special mention for his teaching at the World Leisure and Tourism International Centre of Excellence (WICE) and Australian Conservation Training Institute (ACTI). He served as Chair and on the Board of Youth Challenge Australia (YCA) for 17 years and currently on the Kokoda Track Foundation Board for the last 2 years. He is a Fellow and Life Member of Parks and Leisure Australasia, editor of its Journal for 8 years, in 2007 received its Frank Steward Award for contribution to the Parks and Leisure industry. He has conducted numerous projects and lectures worldwide and is the author of 8 books and over 100 articles dealing with issues concerning leisure and tourism.
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The concept of volunteering has a long and established history in many subject areas; the volunteering literatures closest to (and often overlapping) tourism are: Leisure (Parker 1992; Stebbins 1992; Stebbins and Graham 2004); Sport (Sport England 1996; Cuskelly and Harrington 1997; Gratton and Kokolakakis 1999; Coleman 2002; Sport England 2003) and Events (Johnston, Twynam et al. 1999; Solberg 2003; Ralston, Lumsdon et al. 2005). The volunteering experience from these subject areas tends to be from the concept of 'traditional volunteering'. The notion of traditional volunteering is supported by Cnaan et al., (1996) who outline four key dimensions: free choice, remuneration, structure and intended beneficiaries. The definition offered by Stebbins and Graham (2004:5) is built from these four dimensions
Volunteering is uncoerced help offered either formally or informally with no or, at most token pay done for the benefit of both other people and the volunteer
Volunteering in tourism also has examples in the literature from this traditional route. For example Graham and Foley (1998) discuss volunteers working in museums in Glasgow and similar work has been done by Orr (2006). Unlike volunteering in other sectors, the opportunities available for volunteering in the tourism domain usually encompass the notion of 'payment' ((Wearing 2003; Benson 2004; Tourism Research and Marketing (TRAM) 2008). The extent to which this influences the concept of 'volunteering' from both the demand and supply side has yet to fully theorised.
The growth in volunteer tourism has produced a range of resources and publications from descriptive books that offer lists of companies offering volunteer projects; to an extensive range of websites offering information, support services and projects. More recently academic activity has grown with the emergence of academic books, journal articles and the recently launched (2007) Journal of International Volunteer Tourism and Social Development.
This sector has seen a proliferation of organisations moving into this market place. Whilst many of the volunteering opportunities are often linked to charitable organisations, it is also evident that some of the growth in this sector is by profit-making companies, and whilst some of these can be linked to social entrepreneurship others are purely commercial. The projects on offer are wide ranging: social, community conservation, ecological health and educational. The marketplace is already becoming segmented with programmes being directed towards, individuals, families, groups, students (in particular the gap year students), career breaks and the corporate market. With an ever growing myriad of pricing structures, for example, organisations are now advertising: free projects (although you have to buy your own flights); discounted projects; and low cost projects, whilst other organisations just quote a price.
There are concerns that this growth brings ethical and moral dilemmas. Volunteer tourism has tended to concentrate on international tourism from rich western countries (UK, USA and Australia) to developing countries. To what extent is it beneficial to host communities? Do volunteers possess the skills to 'make a difference'? Or is any advice/help better than not at all? To what extent is volunteer tourism subject to 'green wash' marketing by industry in order to capture a larger percentage of the travel market?
The voice of the volunteer will be important in such (and many other) discussions; already there is growing evidence that volunteers are concerned over what their payment contributes towards. Does it aid host communities development? Concerns over the type of organisation they travel with and the extent to which these organisations consider surplus profits or the triple bottom line. The role of fundraising within the payment made to organisations and the extent to which this is ethically sound are all part of a growing rhetoric by volunteers.
Consequently, the Volunteer Tourism Special Interest Group's overall purpose is:
To provide a network for critical discussion on volunteering within the tourism sector
- To identify, synthesise and discuss problem areas
- To develop best practice case study material
- To provide a platform for critical discussion
- To disseminate research findings
- Ambiguities and boundaries of volunteer tourism - theoretical framework
- Traditional volunteering in tourism and volunteer tourism (Voluntourism)
- Exploring ethical boundaries
- Reviewing / developing sets of guidelines / advice notes on ethics in volunteerism
- Interaction between Profit and Non-profit organisations
- Corporate Philanthropy and its role in volunteer tourism
- Volunteer typologies, motivations and behaviour
- Host - guest (volunteer) encounters
- The development and marketing of volunteer tourism
- Volunteer tourism in domestic markets
Refinement of the above topics and identification of additional topics will be developed through SIG meetings
- Inaugural meeting
- Expert meetings and special conference sessions
- Call for papers - journal special issue
- Publication from conference sessions
Benson, A. M. (2004). Research Tourism: professional travelling versus useful discovery. Niche Tourism: Contemporary Issues, Trends and Cases. M. Novelli, Elsevier: Butterworth Heinemann.
Cnaan, R. A., F. Handy, et al. (1996). "Defining who is a volunteer: conceptual and empirical considerations." Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly 25: 364-383.
Coleman, R. (2002). "Characteristics of volunteering in UK Sport: Lessons from Cricket." Managing Leisure 7(4): 220-238.
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