Time as culture: Exploring its influence in volunteer tourism

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Tourism Recreation Research, 2016, 41 (1), pp. 26 - 36
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© 2015 Taylor & Francis. Volunteer tourism engages the volunteer in a cultural exchange that is personal and often influential in their life experience. This paper explores one aspect of this exchange, the idea of time in travel, and finds that the volunteer tourist experience is particularly influenced by cultural time differences. When volunteer tourists travel and return home, the emotions and behaviours which emerge in their narratives of experience are usually framed by a range of reference points. One of these is the notion of time. ‘Time’ appears to play a role in travel across cultures and continues to affect tourists when they return home. This idea is explored here through the experiences of 12 volunteer tourists. Although all of their experiences, both incountry and on re-entry, were very unique, each volunteer tourist spoke directly or indirectly about adjustment to cultural time differences and this was the key factor in their ability to adapt in both settings.
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