EPISODE 5: VOLUNTEER TOURISM – AT WHAT COST?

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Volunteer tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry that is increasingly run by for-profit organisations sending millions of volunteers to poor communities around the world. The industry is rarely researched and empirical data is scarce, so what are we missing? We speak with Stephen Wearing about how the industry is changing, how it could be regulated and how the media plays a role in popular perceptions of volunteer tourists.

 

 

Stephen Wearing is a conjoint professor at the University of Newcastle whose research focuses on sustainable tourism and the importance of community based approaches in the tourism and volunteering sector. For 22 years he ran VOICE Volunteers in Community Engagement (previously known as Youth Challenge Australia), a not-for-profit organisation sending volunteers on grassroots, community-identified development projects since 1992.