Volunteer Tourism and Intercultural Sensitivity: The Role of Interaction with Host Communities

Ksenia Kirillova, Xinran Lehto, Liping Cai

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)


This research introduced the concept of intercultural sensitivity to investigate the relationships between the context of volunteer tourism and the change in intercultural sensitivity, empirically assessing the supposition that volunteer tourism facilitates cross-cultural understanding. As a theoretical backdrop, the study utilized Developmental Model of Intercultural Sensitivity (DMIS) postulating that one’s journey towards greater intercultural sensitivity consists of six consecutive stages along the enthnocentrism–ethnorelativism continuum. Canonical correlation analysis of the survey data revealed that quality of interaction with the host community was the most significant predictor of change in intercultural sensitivity. Additionally, this study demonstrated that volunteer tourism is linked to positive and negative changes in intercultural sensitivity and therefore has the potential to simultaneously promote and inhibit cross-cultural understanding.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)382-400
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Travel and Tourism Marketing
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Developmental Model of Intercultural Sensitivity (DMIS)
  • intercultural sensitivity
  • quality interaction
  • tourism and community
  • Volunteer tourism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management
  • Marketing


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