Voluntourism: A New Form of Colonialism?

430 Words2 Pages
king after “Bragenlina,” many tourists are interested in a new industry called “voluntourism.” As the term implies, voluntourism is vacation with intent. Tourists travel to their intended destination to experience culture, diversity, and sight-see while giving back to the community they visit. Even seemingly un-flawed, volunteer vacations are under scrutiny. Critics wonder if these expeditions are constructive, or merely “overpriced guilt trips with an impact as fleeting as the feel good factor” (Fitzpatrick 49). Laura Fitzpatrick, as the author, brings to attention the benefits and drawbacks of the voluntourism industry. Volunteer activities can be booked, along with trip tickets, online and are usually shorter versions of those priorly supported by church groups and the Peace Corps. Voluntourism is a chance to experience a place not normally “featured in glossy travel brochures” (Fitzpatrick 50). Often with demanding work, such as teaching English, setting up medical camps, and distributing goods to local families, the intensity is split up by ventures to an area's feature focal points. With little time spent at a location, some trips lasting less than three weeks, analysts question how voluntourism can make a perpetual impact when the alloted time is not enough to form a relationship. Another difficulty faced is when projects go against the wishes of the locals, but even if an undertaking is wanted, volunteers have encountered duplicates, where a task was already completed by another group. Where some go as far as to call voluntourism a form of colonialism, based more on making profits than doing good, others believe that every little bit helps to advance the sustainability of a community, especially in changing the way Americans are viewed. No matter what the effect of voluntourism, Laura Fitzpatrick concludes more and more people are getting ready to “roll
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