Elephants, orphans and HIV/AIDS: examining the voluntourist experience in Botswana

Phelan, Kelly Virginia (2015) Elephants, orphans and HIV/AIDS: examining the voluntourist experience in Botswana. Worldwide Hospitality and Tourism Themes, 7 2: 127-140. doi:10.1108/WHATT-12-2014-0049

Author Phelan, Kelly Virginia
Title Elephants, orphans and HIV/AIDS: examining the voluntourist experience in Botswana
Journal name Worldwide Hospitality and Tourism Themes   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1755-4217
Publication date 2015-01-01
Year available 2015
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1108/WHATT-12-2014-0049
Open Access Status Not Open Access
Volume 7
Issue 2
Start page 127
End page 140
Total pages 14
Place of publication Bingley, United Kingdom
Publisher Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Language eng
Formatted abstract
– This paper aims to explore the experiences of international volunteer tourists, or voluntourists, to Botswana. Wildlife conservation, health education and orphanage voluntourists are examined specifically.

– Qualitative data were collected through interviews with tourists who had completed or were in the midst of volunteer experiences.

– Findings revealed that international voluntourism opportunities in Botswana are challenging to locate and leave volunteers questioning their impact. Some of the difficulties associated with voluntourism in Botswana included the need for volunteers to pay to participate, the concern regarding whether volunteers were depriving locals of employment opportunities, hesitation about the authenticity of the experience and the lack of community ownership.

Practical implications
– This paper will be beneficial to industry practitioners as it details the challenges associated with international voluntourism and provides suggestions for ways to attract volunteers, engage them in the process and ensure both the organization and tourist have a positive and useful experience.

– The increased interest in international voluntourism is a trend which is unlikely to decelerate in the coming years. This paper advances the knowledge on voluntourism operations in Botswana which may be valuable to tourists, students, academicians, government policymakers and industry practitioners alike.
Keyword Tourism development
HIV/AIDS tourism
Orphanage tourism
Wildlife conservation
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Non-UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Non HERDC
UQ Business School Publications
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Citation counts: Scopus Citation Count Cited 4 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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Created: Tue, 12 Apr 2016, 18:42:34 EST by Karen Morgan on behalf of UQ Business School