Host-guest relationship in the context of volunteer tourism


  • Raweewan Proyrungroj Tourism Industry and Hospitality Management Programme, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Suan Sunandha Rajabhat University, 1 U-Thong Nok, Dusit, Bangkok, Thailand, 10300; E-mail:,


Host-guest relationship, interactions, volunteer tourism, volunteer tourists, hosts.


This study explores the nature of interactions and relationships between volunteer tourists and their hosts by using social exchange theory. A qualitative research methodology utilising semi-structured, in-depth interviews and participant observation was adopted. The informants included fourteen volunteer tourists, on a working vacation at the Special Education Centre of Ranong Province, and nineteen staff members of the centre. Analysis of the data revealed that the interactions and relationships between the volunteer tourists and the hosts were equal, reciprocal and rewarding; neither acted only for the purpose of satisfying their own needs/expectations, but rather in ways that could benefit one another. In other words, they did not just seek to “take”, but also intended to “give”, which may be part of the unique nature of volunteer tourism, where volunteer tourists are driven by altruistic motivations and are viewed as different from other tourists by their hosts. Such mutual, rewarding interactions and relationships brought benefits to both groups and were sufficient for them to decide to be involved in volunteer tourism in the future.




How to Cite

Proyrungroj, R. (2017). Host-guest relationship in the context of volunteer tourism. European Journal of Tourism Research, 16, 177–200. Retrieved from