In The Ghetto

"Slum tourism" is on the rise in developing countries around the world. Some say the tours help the affluent understand the dire situations faced by the world's poor, but others say it's just a way to help Westerners feel good about themselves.

"Slum tourism, or 'poorism,' as some call it, is catching on. From the favelas of Rio de Janeiro to the townships of Johannesburg to the garbage dumps of Mexico, tourists are forsaking, at least for a while, beaches and museums for crowded, dirty - and in many ways surprising - slums. When a British man named Chris Way founded Reality Tours and Travel in Mumbai two years ago, he could barely muster enough customers for one tour a day. Now, he's running two or three a day and recently expanded to rural areas."

"Slum tourism isn't for everyone. Critics charge that ogling the poorest of the poor isn't tourism at all. It's voyeurism. The tours are exploitative, these critics say, and have no place on an ethical traveler's itinerary."

"'Would you want people stopping outside of your front door every day, or maybe twice a day, snapping a few pictures of you and making some observations about your lifestyle?' asked David Fennell, a professor of tourism and environment at Brock University in Ontario. Slum tourism, he says, is just another example of tourism's finding a new niche to exploit. The real purpose, he believes, is to make Westerners feel better about their station in life. 'It affirms in my mind how lucky I am - or how unlucky they are,' he said."

Full Story: Slum Visits: Tourism or Voyeurism?

Comments

Book cover of the Guide to Graduate Planning Programs 4th Edition

Thinking about Grad School?

New! 4th Edition of the Planetizen Guide to Graduate Urban Planning Programs just released.
Starting at $24.95

Prepare for the AICP Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $199
Book cover of Contemporary Debates in Urban Planning

Contemporary Debates in Urban Planning

Featuring thought-provoking commentary and insights from some of the leading thinkers and practitioners in the field.
$18.95
Book cover of Where Things Are from Near to Far

Where Things Are From Near to Far

This engaging children's book about planning illustrates that "every building has its place."
$19.95