Sustainable Development and Sustainable Livelihoods Frameworks: Theory and Practice in Volunteer Tourism

By Emily Anne Eddins and Stuart Cottrell.

Published by The International Journal of Sustainability Policy and Practice

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Theory and practice regarding various approaches to sustainability have experienced a great deal of evolution, debate, and development over the past few decades, particularly when applied in a tourism context. This paper examines to what capacity established frameworks of sustainable development help to inform sustainable livelihoods frameworks, and how these frameworks can be specifically applied to volunteer tourism. Sustainable development can be viewed as the parental paradigm to sustainable tourism, as well as a sustainable livelihoods approach to development. A livelihoods approach is used in a tourism context in a few studies, but the link between tourism and sustainable livelihoods is not currently fully understood, even though many people in developing countries depend on tourism for their livelihoods. Volunteer tourism is championed as a mechanism for sustainable development and a form of sustainable tourism, and although volunteer tourism ideologically and theoretically aligns with the core concepts of sustainable livelihoods, the connection between volunteer tourism and sustainable livelihoods is lacking theoretically and in practice. To make the link between sustainable development, sustainable livelihoods, and volunteer tourism, we present an adaptation of a sustainable livelihoods framework for theoretical and practical application in the growing and increasingly important volunteer tourism industry.

Keywords: Sustainable Development, Sustainable Livelihoods, Volunteer Tourism, Frameworks

The International Journal of Sustainability Policy and Practice, Volume 9, Issue 1, pp.47-60. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 499.050KB).

Dr. Emily Anne Eddins

Doctoral Candidate, Department of Human Dimensions of Natural Resources, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado, USA

Dr. Emily Eddins is a recent recipient of her PhD from the Department of Human Dimensions of Natural Resources at Colorado State University and a Center for Collaborative Conservation Fellow. Her research interests include international development, sustainable development, service-learning, community-engaged learning, ecotourism, and participatory research methods. She chooses to focus on volunteer tourism due to its complexity, global significance, and the belief that participatory, collaborative processes can allow service-learning based tourism and community engagement to enact social change and environmental conservation.

Dr. Stuart Cottrell

Associate Professor, Department of Human Dimensions of Natural Resources, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado, USA

Dr. Stuart Cottrell is an associate professor in the Department of Human Dimensions of Natural Resources at Colorado State University and coordinator of the undergraduate concentration in global tourism and academic coordinator of the Master's of Tourism Management. At CSU, he teaches courses in sustainable tourism development, natural resource management and research methods in human dimensions of natural resources. His research focus includes sustainable tourism development, visitor impact management, and public perceptions of natural resource management issues.