Breaking down the system: How volunteer tourism contributes to new ways of viewing commodified tourism

Sage Publications
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The SAGE Handbook of Tourism Studies, 2009, 1st, pp. 254 - 268
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This chapter argues that models of tourism based on commodified agendas continue to hold dominance in both the theory and practice of tourism. Tourism in the free market economy represents the commercialization of the human need to travel and exploits natural and cultural resources as means to profit accumulation. Despite impressive foreign exchange earnings, transnational tourism corporations operating in developing countries incur high rates of economic leakage. Through high rates of imports, profit repatriation, high levels of expatriate management staffing, and investment incentive schemes, neoliberalist models of tourism generally result in tourist experiences which not only prevent tourists and destination communities from interacting on an equal footing, but which also provide only limited contributions to local communities in developing countries (Meyer, 2007; Schilcher, 2007).
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