Volunteer tourism: altruism, empathy or self enhancement?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

936 Downloads (Pure)


Volunteer tourism being an ambiguous concept could be seen equally as an expression of social conscience and civil duty but also as cynical exploitation of human qualities like altruism and empathy. Still it is recognised that volunteer participants may also gain from their involvement but that should not raise questions about the purity of their motives. It is much less clear where, on a continuum from altruism to self enhancement, volunteer tourism falls, and it is likely that this varies greatly from individual to individual. To some it clearly a holiday, to others a commitment with real costs, and to others something in between, an enjoyable experience with anticipated benefits in terms of career advancement at some point in the future. This paper looks at both altruism and empathy in a theoretical context in an attempt to deconstruct their role in the development and expansion of volunteer tourism opportunities
Original languageEnglish
JournalNew Problems in Tourism
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • empathy
  • volunteer tourism
  • altruism
  • self enhancement


Dive into the research topics of 'Volunteer tourism: altruism, empathy or self enhancement?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this