Using a phenomenological approach, this study examines the experiences of volunteer tourists in host communities using social representations theory. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with volunteer tourists on perceived impacts on favela (slum) communities of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. This study was developed to address a need for further research that critically looks at the social impacts of volunteer tourism in marginalized communities. It addresses the following question: How does volunteer tourism influence a marginalized community from the perspective of the volunteers? Notably, the majority of the volunteers in this study had difficulty describing how volunteer tourism has benefited the community beyond their own individual contributions, and it was difficult for them to see broader implications of volunteer tourism in general. Recommendations of management actions that will help to maintain and enhance the benefits and alleviate the negative consequences and obstacles that were perceived by volunteer tourists are given.
- community impacts
- marginalized communities
- social representations theory
- Volunteer tourism
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Geography, Planning and Development
- Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management