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Abstract

Theoretical and practical hegemony characterize varied forms of tourism. Tourism, the service-based product, has various commoditised subsidiaries in our neoliberal era. In the Society of the Spectacle, Debord portrays tourism akin to a symbol of commodification “a by-product of the circulation of commodities” (Debord 1994). A traditional form of tourism such as mass tourism is a clear model of commoditized tourism. Volunteer tourism is one of the fastest growing significant forms of alternative tourism nowadays (Wearing 2001). This paper aims to abstract and clarify the role of authenticity, the foremost motivation, in volunteer travel structure. The study explores the motives of the voltourists and whether authenticity has a major role in attracting them to selected tourism destinations. Also the study looks at voltourism as a decommodified form of tourism. Throughout the literature review, the study found that the majority of the voltourists travelled to satisfy their authentic needs alongside with new experiences while helping the other in building, teaching and caring, thus, authenticity has a major role in distinguishing voltourism form other forms of tourism. In addition, the study suggests that a sufficient level of interaction between tourists and local communities would create more decommodified and sustainable forms of tourism such as voltourism.

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Authenticity in Voltourism: A motive for a decommodified form of tourism

Theoretical and practical hegemony characterize varied forms of tourism. Tourism, the service-based product, has various commoditised subsidiaries in our neoliberal era. In the Society of the Spectacle, Debord portrays tourism akin to a symbol of commodification “a by-product of the circulation of commodities” (Debord 1994). A traditional form of tourism such as mass tourism is a clear model of commoditized tourism. Volunteer tourism is one of the fastest growing significant forms of alternative tourism nowadays (Wearing 2001). This paper aims to abstract and clarify the role of authenticity, the foremost motivation, in volunteer travel structure. The study explores the motives of the voltourists and whether authenticity has a major role in attracting them to selected tourism destinations. Also the study looks at voltourism as a decommodified form of tourism. Throughout the literature review, the study found that the majority of the voltourists travelled to satisfy their authentic needs alongside with new experiences while helping the other in building, teaching and caring, thus, authenticity has a major role in distinguishing voltourism form other forms of tourism. In addition, the study suggests that a sufficient level of interaction between tourists and local communities would create more decommodified and sustainable forms of tourism such as voltourism.