Year of Award
Master of Science (MS)
Resource Conservation (International Conservation and Development)
Department or School/College
Society and Conservation
Keith Bosak, Theresa Floyd
voluntourism, ecotourism, social network, stakeholder engagement, conservation planning, coordination
University of Montana
Other Social and Behavioral Sciences | Social and Behavioral Sciences
Mirroring trends in international tourism, alternative tourism, and ecotourism, the voluntourism industry has grown, developed and diversified significantly since 2005. Scientific attention to voluntourism has grown, too, focusing mainly on participant motivations and outcomes. However, explicit research on the outcomes and impacts voluntourism projects generate for their host communities and environments is sparse. As voluntourism becomes increasingly frequent, it is critical to design and implement projects that maximize potential for positive impacts and minimize negative impacts. This study reaches toward that goal by investigating (1) the operational characteristics of voluntourism conservation projects in Madre de Dios, Peru, a global conservation priority region, by giving (2) specific attention to their social networks and relationships with stakeholders to understand the ways in which these conditions influence each other and, ultimately, (3) the ability of voluntourism projects to effectively contribute to regional conservation needs. Some projects are well-connected to and coordinated with other conservation entities and efforts of the region, but others are disconnected and struggle to coordinate their activities with broader efforts. Operational characteristics relate to a project’s ability to communicate and coordinate with efforts of other conservation entities, implying that voluntourism leaders can adjust operations to allow for a project that, in addition to meeting participant needs, generates relevant contributions to the conservation needs of Madre de Dios.
Ocanas, Alejandrina R., "An Exploration: How Voluntourism Conservation Projects Coordinate with and Contribute to Conservation Efforts in Madre de Dios, Peru" (2019). Graduate Student Theses, Dissertations, & Professional Papers. 11455.
© Copyright 2019 Alejandrina R. Ocanas