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Volunteer tourism : saving the African penguin one volunteer at a time. The case of a seabird rehabilitation centre in the Western Cape, South Africa

By Carole Olivier

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Volunteer tourism, as a form of leisure and/or recreation, is one of the fastest growing forms of tourism globally. It has also become a critical human resource for many organisations in the Western Cape, South Africa who rely on the support of volunteer tourists. A review of the current literature showed that most volunteer tourism research studies is volunteer-tourist-centred and focus on the motivations for participation and the benefits of participation to the volunteer tourist. Very few studies consider the effect of volunteer tourism on the host organisation and within the South African context only two volunteer tourist profile studies exist. Both studies excluded host organisation factors that indicated how host organisations benefited from hosting volunteer tourists. This research study focussed on creating a comprehensive profile of volunteer tourists at SANCCOB (a non-profit seabird rehabilitation centre) in Table View, Western Cape, South Africa. The profile included demographic factors, motivational factors and SANCCOB specific information. Data were collected through an anonymous, self-administered, online questionnaire and from the data, five conclusions were made. Firstly, the demographic factors of volunteer tourists that participated in SANCCOB’s international volunteer programme was similar to other South African based volunteer tourism studies. Secondly, to experience something different and new was the most important motivational factor for volunteer tourists. Thirdly, volunteer tourists derived considerable benefit from volunteering at SANCCOB. Fourthly, volunteer tourists continued to support SANCCOB through social and financial activities after completing the programme, indicating that SANCCOB (as a host organisation) benefited from hosting volunteer tourists and that as a result, a mutually beneficial relationship exists between this host organisation and the volunteer tourist. Lastly, this study provided SANCCOB with valuable information for volunteer management, as well as future marketing and fundraising campaigns.


Katie Carroll

Date 2015
Pages 144
Publisher Cape Peninsula University of Technology
Department Sport Management
Degree Master of Technology
Language English
University Cape Peninsula University of Technology
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal roles
  2. Animals in culture
  3. Animal welfare
  4. Birds
  5. Conservation
  6. Nature
  7. Penguins
  8. Physical environment
  9. Rehabilitation
  10. South Africa
  11. Tourism and travel
  12. Wild animals
  13. wildlife