The Field for Product Innovations and a Platform for new Alliances for Sustainable Development in Tourism
- Art: Masterarbeit
- Autor: Katja Schluzy
- Abgabedatum: April 2008
- Umfang: 133 Seiten
- Dateigröße: 3,4 MB
- Note: 2,0
- Institution / Hochschule: Fachhochschule Eberswalde Deutschland
- Bibliografie: ca. 145
- ISBN (eBook): 978-3-8428-1077-8
ISBN (Paperback) :
- Sprache: Deutsch
- Prämierung: Diese Forschungsarbeit wurde im Jahr 2009 von der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Tourismuswissenschaften (DGT e.V.) prämiert und durch ein Gutachtergremium für einen Vortrag im Rahmen des Hochschulforums der ITB Berlin ausgewählt.
- Arbeit zitieren: Schluzy, Katja April 2008: Volunteer Tourism, Hamburg: Diplomica Verlag
- Schlagworte: Nachhaltiger Tourismus, Sustainable Tourism, Tourismus, Corporate Social Responsibility, Tourismusmarketing
Masterarbeit von Katja Schluzy
‘Voluntouring programs are incredible journeys through remarkable destinations, combining unique travel opportunities with meaningful volunteer work’.
This statement, taken from the website of Aquila Tours, which is one of the first Canadian tour operators offering this kind of volunteer tourism, shows how this type of tourism is advertised and sold to the customer as a new kind of travel experience. This example illustrates how tour operators describe this kind of tourist experience using word games like ‘Voluntouring’ in order to market this special form of tourism which combines leisure, volunteer work and travel. This way of spending meaningful holidays is gaining more and more popularity among vastly different demographic categories of people. To make a difference while on vacation is already very popular in the U.S, UK and Australia, but is also a concept that is getting more and more attention worldwide. The media has played an important role: from The Time Magazine to Forbes Magazine: articles have been devoted to the idea of blending tourism with community and environmental oriented work. Lonely Planet published its first volunteer-travel guidebook in June 2007 called ‘Volunteer: A Traveler’s Guide to Making a Difference around the World’ as reaction to the growing importance of this travel segment.
Newsweek International stated in its article: ‘Having fun doing good: For some altruistic travelers vacation means more than just a day at the beach’, furthermore describing the phenomenon as follows: ‘It’s tourism with a conscience, undertaken by travelers who don’t want to experience another culture through the windows of a tour bus (...)‘. People are prepared to pay to volunteer and they are even willing to devote holiday time in order to get actively involved and help in environmental conservation projects as well as social projects. In Germany, this new type of travel is slowly beginning to be considered as an emerging trend and was recognised by the press as early as end of 2006 and has been considerably strengthened since the end of 2007. This phenomenon of combining holidays with volunteer work has even developed a new term integrating both aspects: ‘Voluntourism’. In addition, it has created an industry around this, the so-called ‘Voluntourism Industry’.
The numbers of socially responsible tourists as well as the opportunities available to them are increasing. The desire to help is matched by an increasing range of volunteering options. There are volunteer tourism experiences offered for singles, students, families and even retirees, as well as for people searching for a meaningful career break, the ‘career gappers’. But even companies are supporting their employees by sending them on corporate volunteering expeditions, known as Corporate Social Responsibility Travel, in order to help team building processes and to motivate employees. The diversity of products available reflects the needs of different target groups within this emerging market. Players in the market consist of for profit organisations ranging from small tour operators as well as ‘mainstream tour operators’, both of whom are integrating volunteer activities into their travel products. In March 2007, the holiday giant First Choice, UK bought I-to-I, one of the biggest companies specialised in what it calls ‘meaningful travel’, in order to enhance and diversify their product range. Nonprofit organizations and charities in the environmental or social sector are also becoming involved in the volunteer tourism sector by integrating tourists into their activities. This market dynamic is, as of yet, not evident in the German market: the concept is more and more in the media, but the market structure is not that diverse and has a limited perception of target groups for combining volunteering and holiday.
But the Volunteer Tourism industry and the volunteers are not only getting praise, they are also attracting criticism. ‘Are Volunteer Vacations (...) merely overpriced guilt trips with an impact as fleeting as the feel good factor? ‘ Or do they offer individuals a real chance to change the world?’ asked The Times in 2007. The booming industry in pre-packaged volunteer programs is being criticized more and more. Taking into account the broad spectrum of issues referring to the concept of Volunteer Tourism, this master’s thesis has the following objectives.
Table of Contents:
|Part A: The Concept of Volunteer Tourism||6|
|1.||Defining Volunteer Tourism and Setting the Context||6|
|2.||Historical Context of Volunteer Tourism||13|
|3.||Volunteer Tourism within other Tourism Segments||14|
|Part B: Understanding the Volunteer Tourism Market||19|
|1.||The Demand Side: Understanding the Volunteer Tourist||19|
|1.1||Motivation of Volunteer Tourists||20|
|1.2||Conceptual Framework of Volunteer Tourists||28|
|1.3||Volunteer Tourism: Indicators of a growing demand||28|
|2.||The Supply Side: The Volunteer Tourism Industry||32|
|2.1||Diversity in Range of Volunteer Projects||33|
|2.2||CategorisingCore Target Groups||36|
|2.2.1||Target Group: Individual Customers||36|
|2.2.2||Target Group: Corporate Customers||42|
|2.3||Volunteer Tourism Providers: The Volunteer Tourism Industry||47|
|2.4||Case Study: Conservation Volunteer Tourism operating from UK||49|
|3.||Volunteer Tourism Program Design and Implementation||54|
|3.1||Charities Involvement in Volunteer Tourism: Motivation & Benefits||54|
|3.2||Tour Operators Involvement in Volunteer Tourism: Motivation & Benefits||55|
|3.3||Incorporating Volunteering: Guidance for Tour Operators||57|
|3.4||Incorporating Tourism: Guidance for Charities and NGOs||59|
|3.5||Volunteer Tourism: Platform for Cross-Sector Partnerships||61|
|3.6||Examples: Volunteer Tourism Models||66|
|4.||Volunteer Tourism: Platform for Sustainable Development?||72|
|4.1||Volunteer Tourism and Sustainability||72|
|4.2||Volunteer Tourism: Pros, Cons and Possibilities||76|
|4.3||Volunteer Tourism: Guidelines for Sustainable Development||81|
|5.||Conclusion: Understanding the Volunteer Tourism Market||86|
|Part C: Volunteer Tourism Market in Germany||91|
|1.||Volunteer Tourism: Review of the German Market||91|
|2.||Hypothesis: Volunteer Tourism in Germany||96|
|Part D: Future of Volunteer Tourism in Germany: Empirical Part||99|
|1.||Methodology and Research Question||99|
|2.||Summary of Findings: Exploratory Study||100|
|Outlook: The phenomenon of Volunteer Tourism||105|
Chapter Part B, Conclusion: Understanding the Volunteer Tourism Market:
The desire to help and spend meaningful holidays is matched by an increasing range of volunteer options catering to the needs of diverse target groups like singles, students, families, retirees as well as career breakers. A shift could be seen to the more mature volunteer target group beyond the age of 30. Volunteering while being on vacation attracts a diverse spectrum of customers, ranging from individual customers to corporate customers. Tailor-made corporate social responsibility travel programs meet specific needs of corporations. These company-sponsored employee volunteer programs have been identified as a form of corporate volunteering implemented alongside existing corporate social responsibility activities and connected to the core business of the company. This not only implies potential benefits for communities and destinations but also for the company.
As diverse as the products the players of the volunteer tourism market range from for-profit organizations, like small tour operators, to mainstream tour operators who have integrated volunteer components into their existing travel products aiming to diversity their product range in order to satisfy the needs of sophisticated consumers. But also non-profit organizations, like non-governmental organizations and charities, are getting involved in the dynamic volunteer tourism sector by integrating tourists into their activities. It turned out that it is not advisable for a tour operator to develop an internal capacity for delivering an aid program. From the perspective of NGOs wanting to incorporate tourism into their operations it is an option to partner with a tour operator. Cross-sector partnerships are an opportunity for both NGOs and tour operators to develop and market together the new products. These emerging cross-sector partnerships between charities and tour operators are offering benefits for all partners involved by facilitating the product-development process at the intersection of volunteerism and tourism. Partnering offers a way to learn from each other and improve standards.
An important characteristic of the dynamic volunteer-tourism market is the increased competition with new providers entering the market as well as the shift to commercialisation. The takeover of i-to-i, one of the biggest companies specialized in what is called meaningful travel, by the holiday giant First Choice, UK could serve as evidence that volunteer tourism seems to be becoming a mass niche market with considerable growth potential. However, despite the growing importance of this industry little research has been done, particularly with regard to commercial operators in the field, in order to understand the market dynamic and the business practices applied.
The idea and philosophy behind the concept of volunteer tourism bears considerable potential for sustainable development in tourism. Ensuring sustainability has been identified as a core challenge in the field of volunteer tourism. Not all providers act according to the underlying philosophy by designing projects in line with community needs. Some opponents of the volunteer-tourism concept are concerned about the uncontrolled growth, criticizing the booming industry in pre-packaged volunteer programs and question the long-term effects for the communities in the destination. But who is responsible for sustainable business practices? Both, providers of volunteer-tourism experiences as well as volunteer tourists themselves are accountable for their behaviour. Empowering the consumer to look more behind the business practise of the provider by providing checklists as well as awards for responsible providers are instruments helping to make the market more transparent and identify irresponsible providers. Rather than just focusing on controlling the supply side the consumer should more able to look behind operational practice in order to understand the importance of sustainability for the quality of volunteer-tourism products. Responding to the need for sustainability, some tour operators are working on a code of conduct. It is important that such guidelines are becoming more common and being adopted by other providers in the field of volunteer tourism. It has to be mentioned that there is the danger that these code of conducts are being used as a marketing tool and a way of greenwashing.
The concept of volunteer tourism implies potentials as well as limitations: Volunteer holidays are criticised with reference to the short period of volunteering and the often-unskilled volunteers involved. Particularly work with communities for short-term periods is often criticised with respect to the social cultural dimension of sustainability. Well-organized environmental projects, such as research projects where volunteers provide financial resources as well as labour, or building projects appear compatible and benefit both, the traveller by providing them with a lasting volunteer experience, and communities. The example of the UK conservation holiday sector highlighted the importance of organizations to facilitate the distribution of manpower and financial funds. However, the distribution of holidays is highly uneven over regions, countries and biomes. The relatively small number of destinations may indicate that at least a proportion of the industry is led by consumer preferences and not necessarily conservation priorities. This one more illustrates the challenge of balancing the needs of different stakeholders: Volunteer tourism is a tourism segment between market reality and sustainability.
The volunteer-tourism experience, even the short one, could at least lead to raised awareness of global social and environmental problems and leads in many cases to a lasting experience. Additionally, these ‘tasters’ could improve the image of volunteering by showing that doing good and having fun could work together very well. It has to be highlighted once more that sustainable volunteer-tourism projects rely on the integration and the support of the community. Planning and monitoring has been identified as important instruments to increase the effectiveness of volunteer-tourism projects and to avoid uncontrolled developments. Responsible business practises could ensure the sustainability of volunteer projects and by doing this the idea of having a holiday and actively contributing to the visited destination could be reality and not just a marketing claim by volunteer-tourism providers. Balancing the needs of communities and tourists is a challenge, but also an opportunity too: designing meaningful, sustainable and high-quality products could encourage product innovation.
The examples of the tour operator Tauck World Discovery partnering with Yellowstone National Park as well as the partnership of Aquila, the Canadian tour operator, and the charity Habitat for Humanity illustrated the potential and benefits of cross-sector partnerships for innovation and sustainable development in tourism. So volunteer tourism could provide a platform for product innovation and could also lead to sustainable development in tourism by providing a win-win situation.
Volunteer tourism has within a short time become a mass niche market particularly with reference to the U.S and UK tourism markets. The data and indicators presented have supported the importance of this new trend in volunteerism and shown evidence of the growth potential of volunteer tourism with particularly reference to short-term volunteer vacations. Having summarized findings and concluded on the role of volunteer tourism as a field for product innovation and a platform for new alliances for sustainable development, the focus is now switched to take into account the German market and it’s potential.