The Concept of Volunteer Tourism

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Volunteer tourism As the physical boundaries of countries have become more flexible and easier to cross, tourist activities increase in importance and popularity. Tourism as such represents an economic source of wealth in some countries, generating substantial contributions to the GDP. In South Africa for instance, tourism's contribution to the GDP has increased from 2.7 per cent in 2009 to 7.9 per cent in 2010 (Media Club South Africa). In the United Kingdom, tourism contributes to the GDP more than the domestic automobile industry (World Travel and Tourism Council). And at the global level, the touristy sector contributed with $2 trillion to the GDP and generated 98 million jobs. What is impressive about tourism is that it continued to generate increasing financial results, even against the background of the economic recession (World Travel and Tourism Council). In this multifaceted setting, the types of activities engaged in the tourism sector have expanded significantly, in an effort to maximize the potential of each region, as well as serve the needs of the diverse global customers. One example in this sense is represented by volunteer tourism, which is traditionally understood as the act of traveling to different locations and, while there on vacation, also participating in volunteer activities to improve the conditions in the region, such as clean a reservation, volunteer at a canteen to interact with the local population and so on. The origins of volunteer
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