Conservation volunteer tourism in the Hartbeespoort region, South Africa : an exploratory study

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Peer-Reviewed Research
  • SDG 15
  • Abstract:

    Abstract: It is critical to promote the development and vigorous growth of responsible and on all levels sustainable tourism destinations. In general terms, travelling is increasingly a privilege and if tourism is handled responsibly, all the participants can benefit and enjoy immense privileges. Volunteer tourism remains under-researched topic in Africa and specifically South Africa. This research provides novel evidence from an exploratory study on conservation volunteer tourism in the Hartbeespoort region in the North-West Province of South Africa, to address the current paucity in research on this topic. This paper presents the main motivations of tourists for volunteering in conservation programmes, and the range of different volunteering projects available. Key points that emerged include the value that the tourists placed on their interaction with animals and developing personal awareness around environmental and conservation issues. Overall, conservation volunteer tourism has positive impacts, however a number of potential ethical problems are highlighted. The paper concludes highlighting a number of future research prospects.