History of NGDO volunteer tourism in Spain: depoliticisation, commodification, and downturn

Jordi Gascón*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


This article analyses the historical evolution of volunteer tourism organised by non-governmental development organisations (NGDO) in Spain since they appeared in the 1980s as an instrument to support revolutionary processes and resistance in developing countries, mostly in the southern hemisphere. After subsequent depoliticisation, volunteer tourism sparked the interest of the business sector and conservative organisations. One of the most controversial consequences of this process was the desire to regulate volunteer tourism with a certification. This paper addresses how this process has paralleled the institutionalisation of development cooperation and the adaptation of NGDOs to this new context. Finally, the paper addresses the decline of this type of tourism because of the economic, political and social downturn which began in 2008.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)284-302
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Tourism History
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2 2019


  • commodification
  • non-governmental development organisation (NGDO)
  • Spain
  • Volunteer tourism history

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • History
  • Transportation
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management


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