First Advisor

Stephen Frenkel

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in International & Global Studies: International Development and University Honors


International and Global Studies


Volunteer tourism, International economic relations




This paper examines the positive and negative implications of voluntourism, defined as a short-term trip (less than three months) of paid travel combining the vacation aspects with volunteer work externally organized. This paper compares the motivations of both the voluntourist and the voluntourism organizations. Ultimately, this paper seeks to ask: is voluntourism more negative or more positive? This paper compiles past ethnographic literature within the tourism and voluntourism community. This paper finds that voluntourism is neocolonial in nature, creates economic relationships built on aid reliance, does not help to form long-lasting social relationships and is irresponsible in its management of resources. Because of these factors, voluntourism, while not necessarily malicious in intent, is more negative than positive and will require a large framework shift to change its imperialistic legacy.


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