Experience expectations of prospective volunteer tourists

Kathleen Andereck, Nancy Gard McGehee, Seungwoo Lee, David Clemmons

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Scopus citations


The purpose of this article is to use expectancy theory (which suggests that a travel experience that meets or exceeds tourists' expectations will be viewed positively) to explore the experience expectations and preferences of prospective volunteer tourists (voluntourists). Survey research is implemented to investigate the experience expectations of potential volunteer tourists and considers aspects of expectations that differentiate various groups. Findings indicate that the primary expectation held by respondents in general is the provision of trip-related information. A primary differentiating experience attribute among potential volunteers is the amount of contact people expect to have with residents. The intensity level of physical or emotional demands is also a differentiator. Information from this study can be useful for volunteer tour operators, NGOs, and community stakeholders in the design of a variety of volunteer tourism experiences that can meet the needs of diverse travelers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)130-141
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Travel Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2012


  • expectancy theory
  • theory of rational choice
  • volunteer tourism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Transportation
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management


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