Volunteer tourism is the combination of leisure travel and voluntary work. Although it is increasing in popularity, one area that remains underexplored in the literature is the centrality of project facilitators in the on-the-ground experiences of volunteer tourists. This study, therefore, interrogates the relationship between facilitation and implementation of volunteer tourism experiences and the volunteer tourists' lived experiences. By placing in conversation on-the-ground volunteer tourism experiences in Nyakinama, Rwanda with current literature in volunteer tourism, this study finds that volunteer tourism is a gratifying experience, especially as it relates to self-development, bonding with local people and experiencing of local lifestyle. The study, however, suggests that certain managerial actions and transparency measures must be introduced so as to maximize the social role of volunteer tourism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)509-516
Number of pages8
JournalTourism Management
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2012


  • Auto-ethnography
  • Rwanda
  • Volunteer tourism
  • Voluntourism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Development
  • Transportation
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management
  • Strategy and Management


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