Post-Trip Recollections of Austrian Volunteer Tourists – A Narrative Enquiry

Hauptmann, Carina (2014) Post-Trip Recollections of Austrian Volunteer Tourists – A Narrative Enquiry. [Dissertation (University of Nottingham only)] (Unpublished)

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Tourism as a constantly growing industry is facing various challenges in terms of sustainability and global development. As an alternative to mass tourism, distinct – arguably more ‘ethical’ forms of tourism – have emerged over the last few decades. Volunteer tourism can be regarded as part of this evolution as well as a form of travelling aimed at combining both altruistic intentions of volunteering and self-interested pursuits comparable to ‘normal holidays’.

Since the majority of volunteer tourists are said to be from industrialised countries, Austria appears to be a typical example. However, a thorough review of related literature implies that there is hardly any data associated with this particular context. Besides, a need for more retrospective tourism studies can be identified. Thus, the thesis at hand contributes to the current state of research by concentrating on former volunteer tourists from Austria. More specifically, its aim was to explore how individuals make sense of their experiences through personal stories.

A total of nine interviews were conducted, partly face-to-face and partly via videoconferencing. Since the overall focus relied on participants’ anecdotes, narrative analysis was selected as the most suitable methodological approach. Nine themes were identified in the data and used to answer the three main research questions.

The findings suggest that the interviewees did not conceptualise volunteer tourism as a ‘good’ form of travelling but rather an overly hedonism-centred type of volunteering. Instead, they used other expressions to define their trips. Especially regarding the volunteering element, a comparatively high personal commitment was encountered. It can therefore be argued that volunteer tourism should not only be seen as project-based leisure but also serious leisure. Finally, the narratives of participants revealed a distinctive ability to critically reflect and contextualise their individual volunteer tourism experiences within a broader, global development agenda.

Item Type: Dissertation (University of Nottingham only)
Depositing User: EP, Services
Date Deposited: 12 Nov 2014 09:36
Last Modified: 30 Dec 2017 13:02

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