Travel Elysium

Negative Effects of Volunteer Tourism

have been home for nearly a month now and had been planning on writing some tips that I think would help tourists in Cambodia. However, that is yet to happen. Instead, as I am concentrating on writing an assignment as a follow up from my experience, I came across another assignment I wrote during my undergraduate days. I have decided to include it in this post for anyone who is interested in learning more about the effects of Volunteer Tourism (Voluntourism). Voluntourism has overwhelmingly negative effects on a host community as opposed to grass roots volunteering organisations. If you are thinking about going overseas to volunteer, ensure your program provides financial transparency. If you’re program costs you $3,000 to volunteer in Cambodia for 14 days, find out where that money is actually going. Chances are it mostly ends up in administration and activities. In reality you could survive on $300 in Cambodia for 14 days. (Unless you’re me, and all my money went on nicer accommodation and activities). Hostels are generally around US$6 and you can get an amazing meals for US$3.50, if you don’t include tourist activities you can easily spend less than US$15 a day. If you are going through a program which includes accommodation, find out the cost per night of that place, the most expensive boutique hotel I stayed in was US$33 per night, the cheapest guesthouse I stayed in was US$14 (and there are plenty of cheaper options). So really dig deep on where your money is going and how much of what you are paying goes directly to the organisation you are supposedly volunteering at. I mentioned in an earlier post that some of the volunteers at the school I volunteered at went through an organisation called Frontier. They paid a substantial amount of money and naively thought the money went to the school. The school did not receive a single cent.

Anyway, the essay is below if you’re interested in having a read. Please let me know if the attachment does not work and I’ll copy and paste the essay.

Negative Effects of Voluntourism

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