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Travelling with a Purpose: Understanding the Motives and Benefits of Volunteer Vacationers
Sally Brown a
Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management, Purdue University, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA
To cite this Article Brown, Sally(2005) 'Travelling with a Purpose: Understanding the Motives and Benefits of Volunteer
Vacationers', Current Issues in Tourism, 8: 6, 479 — 496
To link to this Article: DOI: 10.1080/13683500508668232
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Travelling with a Purpose: Understanding
the Motives and Benefits of Volunteer
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Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management, Purdue University, Indianapolis, Indiana 46231, USA
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.
Keywords: volunteer tourism, travel motivation factors, benefits, impacts
The concept of ‘volunteer tourism’ is a growing trend in the tourism industry and is starting to draw attention from researchers and marketers alike (Wearing, 2003). In the United States, for instance, a broad variety of organisations offer volunteer vacations. They vary from tour operators to non-profit organisations. One of the...
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