Holidaying in a disaster zone might seem crazy, but “volunteer tourism” can actually help communities recover from natural disasters, a new study finds.
Holidaying in a disaster zone might seem crazy, but “volunteer tourism” can actually help communities recover from natural disasters, a new study finds. And it can offer a unique and rewarding experience for volunteers, if done carefully.
“When disaster hits a tourist destination – whether fire, flood, cyclone or earthquake – tourists naturally stay away, leaving communities to deal with loss of income on top of costs of repair and recovery,” says study co-author Dr David Beirman, from the University of Technology Sydney.
“On the other hand, people who feel a natural curiosity, as well as a natural desire to help, are keen for experiences where they can interact with locals and make a difference,” he says.
He notes that volunteer tourism should not be confused with “disaster tourism” in which tourists immediately travel to a scene not to help but to look.
Read more at University of Technology Sydney
Image: The ruins of Nepal's Gorkha district after the 2015 earthquake that killed nearly 9,000 people and injured 22,000. Tourism helped lead the way back. (Credit: EU/ECHO/Pierre Prakash)