Voluntourism in the Context of Community-Based Tourism, and Regenerative Tourism: A Theoretical Exploration Focusing on Responsibility


  • Rositsa Röntynen Jyväskylä University of Applied Sciences https://orcid.org/0000-0001-9314-4078
  • Minna Tunkkari-Eskelinen Jamk University of Applied Sciences




voluntourism, regenerative tourism, community-based tourism, responsible tourism, ethical tourism concepts


The paper examines the theoretical interconnection between the concepts of voluntourism, community-based tourism, and regenerative tourism. Voluntourism, widely criticized for its implementations unethical towards local environment and community, is re-evaluated in the light of community-based and regenerative tourism principles including unequal power dynamics and questionable long-term benefits to host communities. This paper claims that re-imagining voluntourism within the framework of regenerative tourism offers a new perspective. Regenerative tourism, characterized by its commitment to restoring, revitalizing, and enhancing the wellbeing of both natural environments and local communities, can serve as a guiding principle for voluntourism programs. Community-based tourism is integral to this theoretical exploration, as it emphasizes local participation, cultural and natural preservation, and economic empowerment. When voluntourism aligns with community-based tourism principles, it shifts its focus from short-term, self-serving actions to responsible community-driven initiatives. By channelling the motivation and resources of volunteers towards community-led regenerative initiatives, voluntourism can contribute to positive, lasting impacts. Ethical reflection is done within the actors only. This paper is theoretical; however, its purpose is in the pragmatism of tourism concept development. It concludes to enhance the understanding of voluntourism's potential to transition from a problematic form of tourism to an ethical and responsible force for change. By reconciling voluntourism with the principles of regenerative tourism and community-based tourism, this paper aims to provide a theoretical foundation for the development of more responsible and sustainable tourism practices. In doing so, it strives to contribute to the theoretical knowledge surrounding alternative and socially sustainable tourism concepts.

Author Biography

Minna Tunkkari-Eskelinen, Jamk University of Applied Sciences

Minna Tunkkari-Eskelinen (PhD) is a Principal Lecturer in tourism and hospitality in the School of Business at Jamk University of Applied Sciences. She has worked in the field of responsible tourism, in research, teaching and tourism industry development activities. She has also done research on entrepreneurial pedagogy, rural tourism, and family businesses.