The attitudes of Thai hosts towards western volunteer tourists


  • Raweewan Proyrungroj Tourism Management Programme, International College, Suan Sunandha Rajabhat University, 1 U-Thong Nok Road, Dusit, Bangkok, Thailand, 10300; tel: 02-1601200 ext. 27, e-mail:,


Thai hosts’ attitudes; influencing factors, Western volunteer tourists, host-tourist relationship


This study examines the attitudes of Thai hosts towards Western volunteer tourists who were on volunteer vacation at the Home and Life orphanage. An interpretive paradigm utilising a combination of qualitative data collection methods (semi-structured, in-depth interviews and participant observation) was conducted with twenty resident members of Thai Muang sub-district who acted as the host of the volunteer tourists. The analysis of the data revealed that all respondents portrayed positive attitudes towards volunteer tourists, based upon two main factors: the volunteer tourists’ conduct and performance; and the perceived benefits they gained from the work of these tourists. The opportunity for the local children to learn English with English native speakers was cited as the most significant benefit. However, the respondents also had concerns about some aspects of the volunteer tourists’ behaviour and perceived under-performance, which was found to be mainly the result of cultural differences. In addition, it was found that there are mixed views regarding the volunteer tourists: some respondents perceived them as special type of tourist, whereas some viewed them as being non-tourists.




How to Cite

Proyrungroj, R. (2015). The attitudes of Thai hosts towards western volunteer tourists. European Journal of Tourism Research, 11, 102–124. Retrieved from