Voluntourism and Its Roots in Neocolonialism

Voluntourism is a rising industry among the wealthy working classes in well-developed countries. According to a Thrive Global article in 2017, it garnered an annual income of $173 billion dollars. What makes this industry profitable and how is it detrimental to society? Voluntourism is a form of tourism in which travelers participate in voluntary work, typically for charity, under the guise of evangelization under God. People typically participate in voluntourism through short-term missionary trips which are typically a few weeks long.  Volunteer program organizations promote the idea of giving back to a community through improved local conditions. The target demographic for voluntourism are high school and university students, as most seek to acquire resume fluff, self-enhancement, and adventure. Of course, these students have a sense of altruism, but it isn’t their main motivation behind volunteering in poorly developed countries. Instead, they assist  these volunteer organizations in capitalizing on their demographic’s desire to “help” countries to exist in the capitalist market; everything is to make a profit.