Slumming It: The Tourist Valorisation of Urban Poverty

NEW BOOK Announcement

slumming it title page

Slumming It: The tourist Valorization of Urban Poverty
Zed Books London, June 2016
Paperback: £16.99
ISBN: 9781783604432

In the provocative Slumming It, Fabian Frenzel explores the intriguing motivations and consequences of this form of tourism with a truly accessible, open-minded approach. He examines the strange allure that slums have for wealthier visitors, and he investigates the changes this curious attraction has led to on both a small and large scale: from gentrification and urban policy reform to the organization of international development and poverty alleviation efforts. Using case studies throughout the global south—including Rio de Janeiro, Bangkok, and cities in South Africa, Kenya, and India—Frenzel provides a comprehensive study of slum tourism and a controversial take on the potentially positive impact it may have on these struggling communities in the future.

The book is based on a research project funded by the European Union Marie Curie Fellowship scheme. More publications and information can be found on the project website.

Read an extract from the book on CityMetric

Reviews:
Bianca Freire-Medeiros, author of Touring Poverty
“Based on years of embedded fieldwork, Frenzel’s book cuts through the powerful mythology surrounding the so-called slums, townships, and favelas as tourist attractions to construct a revelatory narrative of the relationship between poverty and tourism, exploitation and political activism.”

John Hutnyk, author of The Rumour of Calcutta
“The reality of the slum is much fought over in commentary. Frenzel cuts through the confusion to evaluate the valorisation of poverty in tourism. With examples ranging across India, Brazil, Europe and South Africa, Frenzel offers an analysis, both comparative and detailed, that is a theoretically-informed advance on current scholarship.”

Manfred Rolfes, University of Potsdam
“Frenzel has written a very inspiring book, that is full of ideas and also deeply political. He opens up many new perspectives on slum tourism, and highlights its local and global dimensions.”

Eveline Dürr, LMU Munich
“Rich empirical evidence, expertly interrogated by notions of place valorisation, make this a fascinating piece of cutting-edge research on a fast emerging field of study. It makes a significant contribution to the available literature and is key reading for professionals and scholars alike.”

Christian M. Rogerson, University of Johannesburg
“A bold and carefully crafted analysis of slums and slum tourism. Theoretically grounded in the concepts of tourist valorization and local value regimes, it offers a nuanced and state of the art understanding of the nexus of tourism, slums and poverty.”

Imogen Tyler, author of Revolting Subjects
“This provocative and beautifully written study of slum tourism will transform your assumptions about the politics of slumming it. Drawing on rich ethnographic data, Frenzel carefully considers the activist potential of tourism to enact a relational politics of solidarity and care.”

Township Tourism as responsible tourism? Findings from Cape Town

TheJournal of Sustainable Tourism development of small tourism businesses has been seen by policy-makers as a valuable means of alleviating poverty in South African townships.  This perspective has  also been endorsed by several “responsible” tourism businesses and academics.

After close investigation of township tourism practices and  micro-entrepreneurship in South Africa, Ko Koens and Rhodri Thomas, however, argue that this may not necessarily be the case. In their article “You know that’s a rip-off”: policies and practices surrounding micro-enterprises and poverty alleviation in South African township tourism, they identified several barriers that prevent township residents from successfully developing their businesses and sharing in the material gains available through tourism, even when visitor numbers are significant.

These findings suggests a need to critically reconsider current policies in favour of greater regulation and alternative forms of investment as well as a need to reassess the value of advocating responsible tourism to consumers who are often unable to gain full understanding of the context they visit or the implications of their choices.

For a short time you can download the article on the website of the Journal of Sustainable  Tourism for free.

Koens, K. & Thomas, R. (2016) ‘You know that’s a rip-off’: policies and practices surrounding micro-enterprises and poverty alleviation in South African township tourism. Journal of Sustainable Tourism.

 

WLO names Durban field school after Douglas Ribeiro da Silva

The World Leisure Organisation has decided to dedicate their 2016 summer school to the memory of tourism researcher Douglas Ribeiro da Silva. Douglas’ research focused on community perceptions of favela tourism in Paraisopolis, Sao Paolo and he presented his findings at the 2nd Slum tourism network conference in May 2014 in Potsdam, Germany.

Douglas died in an accident while attending the WLO Congress in 2014 in Mobile, Alabamba. In his memory the WLO has named its next congress in Durban, South Africa as ‘Douglas Ribeiro da Silva Field School’.

The WLO would like to offer a tribute to one of the students who participated in the last WLO Congress. Unfortunately, Douglas is no longer with us, but he left part of his legacy on the way he lived. In spite of all adversities in his life, he chose education and knowledge as the path to be followed in order to change society, to empower and emancipate people. His life was an inspirational example on how to overcome difficulties and discrimination with knowledge. We would like to keep his spirit alive by naming the Durban field school after him.

Many researchers in the slum tourism network have expressed their gratidute to the WLO for this tribute to Douglas’ memory.

Second Part of Themed Issue Slum Tourism Out

The second part of the themed issues of the jounral Tourism Review International has been published. It features three papers on slum tourism, considering tourism in Vidigal, Rio de Janeiro, as well as in Kibera, Nairobi and Dharavi in Mumbai.

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Ecological Slums? Initial Notes on Tourism and Ecology in Brazilian Favelas

Camila Maria Dos Santos Moraes
Tourism and Heritage Department, Federal University of the State of Rio de Janeiro (UNIRIO), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
CPDOC/FGV-RJ, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Key words: Favela; Ecology; Tourism

“Breaking the Silence”: Local Perceptions of Slum Tourism in Dharavi
Nieck Slikker* and Ko Koens†‡
*International Tourism Management, Stenden University of Applied Sciences, Leeuwarden, Netherlands
†Academy of Hotel and Facility Management, NHTV Breda University of Applied Sciences, Breda, Netherlands
‡School of Tourism and Hospitality, Faculty of Management, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa

Key words: Slum tourism; Dharavi; Local perceptions; Resident perspective; Tourism ethics

Making Slums Into Attractions: The Role of Tour Guiding in the Slum Tourism Development in Kibera and Dharavi
Fabian Frenzel* and Stephanie Blakeman†

*School of Management, University of Leicester, Leicester, UK
†Department of Culture and Global Studies, Aalborg University, Copenhagen, Denmark

Key words: Slum tourism; Tour guiding; Attraction making; Organizational structures; Social ties; Intimacy

The abstracts of the three paper can be found here.

The papers were originally presented at the second slum tourism network conference in Potsdam in May 2014. Together with the first part of this themed issue and an earlier special issue in Zeitschrift für Tourismuswissenschaft, they form a series of significant contributions to the field.

 

New Research Published on Slum Tourism Websites

Donatella Privitera recently published an article “Tourist Valorisation of Urban Poverty: an Empirical Study on the Web” on Urban Forum journal (Springer). The paper evaluates tour whole sales websites to analyse different types of strategic choices. The websites are evaluated using an extended Model of Internet Commerce Adoption (eMICA) methodological approach that draws on the evolutionary development of electronic commerce. Through the results of the study, it is possible to gain knowledge of the slum e-tourism.

Privitera D. (2015), Tourist Valorisation of Urban Poverty: an Empirical Study on the Web
Urban Forum, 30 June, on line, pp.1-18.
http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12132-015-9259-3

Slum Tourism Themed Issue 2015

After the second Slum Tourism Network conference in Potsdam in May 2014 several of the papers have now been published in a themed issue in the journal Tourism Review International Volume 18, Number 4. The second part of the themed issue will be published in summer 2015.

slum tourism special issue

Here is the table of content of Part 1. Find the abstracts here.

 

Tourism Review International

THEMED ISSUE
SLUM TOURISM—PART 1

Slum Tourism: State of the Art 237
Fabian Frenzel, Ko Koens, Malte Steinbrink, and Christian M. Rogerson

Smart Tourism Investment: Planning Pathways to Break the Poverty Cycle 253
Moustafa A. Mekawy

Reimagining the Geography of the Favelas: Pacification, Tourism, and Transformation in Complexo Do Alemão, Rio de Janeiro 269
Emily LeBaron

Touring the Demolished Slum? Slum Tourism in the Face of Delhi’s Gentrification 283
Tore Holst

“So, Child Protection, I’ll Make a Quick Point of it Now”: Broadening the Notion of Child Abuse in Volunteering Vacations in Siem Reap, Cambodia 295
P. Jane Reas

 

Prior to this themed issue a special issue in the German Zeitschrift für Tourismuswissenschaft was published in late 2014 with several papers from the conference.

Creation of slum tourism operators network

Reality Tours and Travel, a well know and large operator in Mumbai, has joined up in partnership with researchers and tourism organisations from around the world, to take the initiave and create a slum tourism operators network. The purpose of the network is to share best practices, discuss the challenges slum tour operators face and to help each other problem solve these challenges. The ultimate goal is to ensure slum tour operators maximize the positive impact on the community and their guests while operating the tours as responsibly as possible. Pooling together the collective knowledge and experience on the matter of slum tourism can help achieve this goal.

In practice, the idea is to invite as many operators as possible into a dialog over their approaches and concepts, initially via an online networking process, but with the longer term aim of getting operators together in workshops, on regional and perhaps global level. For those interested in participating in this network, to share their knowledge and learn about slum tourism around the world, an online form has been created. We would like to ask practioners and researchers, who are willing to contribute or participate in this network, to fill in the form and share their knowledge about operators across different destinations. Although the initiative to set up the network comes from Reality Tours and Travel, we like to emphasises they have done this to learn and share information. Information from the network will be shared among participants.

You can go to the form by clicking on this link:

New Academic Publication: Is Small Beautiful?

Ko Koens and Rhodri Thomas recently published an article on the contribution of small businesses in township tourism to economic development. Their discussion highlights the complexity of slum touris as they reveal tensions between different actors involved in township tourism. While the involvement of small, locally owned, businesses is beneficial, it is limited by conflicts of interest, lack of trust, limited social networks and little attachment to the township locality.

 

The article can be downloaded by clicking here:

 

Koens, K., & Thomas, R. (2015). Is small beautiful? Understanding the contribution of small businesses in township tourism to economic development. Development Southern Africa, 0(0), 1–13. http://doi.org/10.1080/0376835X.2015.1010715

 

 

 

Special Issue in Zeitschrift für Tourismuswissenschaft Out

We are happy to annouce that the first special issue with some papers from the slum tourism Destination Slum 2 network conference in May 2014 has come out.

The special issue Tourismus und Armut in the Zeitschrift für Tourismuswissenschaft. The special issue was edited by Norman Backhaus, Fabian Frenzel and Malte Steinbrink.

 

 

Bildschirmfoto 2014-12-02 um 11.56.37

ZfTW: Current Issue

 

The special issue is diveded in two parts. One part features papers that revisit the question how tourism can alleviate poverty, while the second part focusses in on poverty as an attraction in tourism. Papers from the conference include the contributions of Sarah Becklake, Julia Burgold and Jan-Erik Steinkrüger. In the introduction to special issue, Malte Steinbrink and Fabian Frenzel show the growing numbers of destinations and tourists in slum tourism. In 2013, an estimated one million tourists went on a slum tour globally.

 

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Most of the papers are in German and the papers are not yet available online. The print issue can be ordered via the journal webpage.

In Memory of Douglas Ribeiro

douglas-ribeiro
Douglas presenting at Destination Slum 2 in Potsdam in May 2014

We are deeply saddened by the untimely death of Douglas Ribeiro, a young Brazilian slum tourism researcher. Many people in this research network got to know Douglas at the second slum tourism network conference Destination Slum!2 in May in Potsdam. He presented his research on resident perceptions of favela tourism in his community Paraisopolis, Sao Paulo. Douglas, a researcher not just of the favela, but from the favela, deeply impressed the conference with his presentation and his personality. Remarkably, Douglas had crowd-funded his trip to Germany among friends and relatives. He died after a swimming pool accident in Mobile, Alabama, where he attended the World Leisure Congress.

An crowd funding page has been set up to support Douglas’ family

http://www.youcaring.com/help-a-neighbor/help-douglas-s-family-get-to-mobile/231936

 

Douglas in potsdam
In Memory of Douglas Ribeiro

Several members of the slum tourism network have expressed their sadness over Douglas’ death. We will post these condolences here to show our respect for this young man who inspired many in the network so deeply.

Emily LeBaron wrote

“Today, I am shocked and saddened to hear of the death of young, talented, and sweet Douglas Ribeiro. I met Douglas at Destination Slum! 2 in Berlin in May, and like many others, was inspired by his strength, intellect, tenacity, and absolute love for the world. Douglas came to present his research on perceptions of slum tourism from the residents’ perspective, something he knew a lot about as a resident of a favela in Sao Paolo himself. He crowdfunded his entire trip to Germany (his “first international experience,” as he repeated constantly with joy), as neither his school nor his family had the funds. Since we met, he wrote me energetically about how excited he was to travel to a conference in Alabama this month – his first trip to North America. Tragically, it was his last adventure, and his last chance to share his knowledge with the world. He was found unconscious in the hotel pool, and after fighting a coma for a week, he passed away yesterday, September 13. He was only twenty years old and had so much left to give to the world. I am thankful for the privilege of meeting him, and for his contributions to the field and his community. Douglas will live on through the lasting impressions he left for all those who knew him. My thoughts are with his vast network of friends and family who are feeling this immense loss.”

Sarah Becklake wrote

“Today I am terribly sad to hear of the passing of a wonderful young man, Douglas Ribeiro. I met Douglas at the Potsdam Slum Tourism Conference in May this year. A resident of one of São Paulo’s favelas, he was at the conference to tell the world about what it is like to have tourism in favelas from the perspective of people who live there. He explained that he had only managed to get to the conference because of the people back home who believed in him and had, thus, started an online crowd fund sourcing appeal. I was so impressed and inspired by his bravery and tenacity. One night after dinner we walked home together. He told me how happy he was to be in Germany. He fell in love with the country, he said, and loved the architecture and museums. He also told me about all the plans he had for this life and his wonderful family and how much hard work his mother did. He gave me a Brazilian real so I could always remember him – it is in my office where I see it every day. I only knew Douglas for 3 days, but in those three days he entered my heart. He was truly one of the sweetest most genuine people I have ever come across. Any help towards his family at this difficult time would be most appreciated. Rest in peace Douglas and thank you for inspiring me.”

Douglas Ribeiro (4)

Moustafa Mekawy wrote:

Dear slum tourism network friends,

I feel deeply sad to hear about Douglas and want to share my sorrow with you and Douglas’s family.

We will miss Douglas’s deep, warm, social and enthusiasm commitment that we met at the second slum tourism network conference Destination Slum! 2 in Potsdam– and especially will remember from the conference tours in Berlin, in which I got the attached pictures of Douglas.

I give my deepest condolences to Douglas’s family.

I would like to express my sympathy after such big loss.

With all my regards.

Condolences

Moustafa

Douglas Ribeiro (6)

Tony Seaton wrote

I am very sad to hear of Douglas’s death…

I met him only briefly on a walk during the conference, and we talked about the nerves of giving presentations. I did not realise he was so young and came from a poor background. I took him to be a postgrad from quite a prosperous family because,  I remember him immaculate in a suit. He was, as Emily says, a personable and enthusiastic young man who was an admirable addition to your Slum Tourism network. Please add my name to any message of tribute and condolence sent to his parents and family.

Douglas Ribeiro (8)

Lisa Tegtmeier wrote

I cannot believe what you are telling us – I really would like to
completely be able to refuse to acknowledge this truth so it could not be true.

 

Linda Bouifrou-Shah wrote

I’m sick of this new,
but I am grateful  you told us, despite the pain it drains and the indelible traces of  sadness.

My Douglas died.  He has been  “kidnapped”  by water, confused by his purity.
Premature absence to which we will have to learn to endure.

Only few days ago, he asked me when I was coming to visit him in Brazil,
I promised him it would be in my priorities for 2015 …

I am shocked.
Desperately sad and revolted against this misguided destiny …
The Prince of favelas
The one who has touched us so much.
First by its history of crowfunding ,
And by his shyness, which he opposed to his will to success.
He was very tall, by  size  and soul.

It’s a few of us which disapear,  a little of the innocence of this world.
He probably had the potential to be a leadeur  of the South in few years,
The voice of the people, of the « people of few»   who can change the world.

I’ll never forget you, my child, our hope.

Malte Steinbrink wrote

I also met Douglas at the conference in Potsdam, and I had the honor to chair the session in which he presented his paper on the residents’ perception of Favela Tourism in Paraisopolis.

It was the first time he was outside Brazil, and the first time he presented in front of an academic audience.  I can remember well his  introductory words of his presentation:

“My name is Douglas Ribeiro, I live in São Paulo, I am a favelado … and I’m happy to be here. [..]”

Ribero, it was wonderful that you were there! Thank you.

 

Babara Vodopivec wrote

I am very sad and shocked to hear of Douglas’s death. We met at the Postdam conference and I think he left a huge impression on all of us. We had some very interesting conversations and I was really impressed by his passion, enthusiasm and positive outlook of the world. Doulgas, you will be missed. Rest in peace. My condolences to all of his family and friends.

 

Shareen Elnaschie wrote

I am deeply saddened by the news of Douglas’ untimely passing.  We met only briefly during the Destination Slum2! conference in Potsdam but it did not take long to realise he was a truly wonderful and inspiring individual.  We spoke about how he had managed to raise funds to attend the conference and share his knowledge and perspectives on slum tourism in the favelas.  We spoke of his dreams to continue his research and to experience more of the world.  His enthusiasm and excitement were almost tangible, and certainly contagious.
My heart goes out to his family and friends.

 

Thomas Frisch wrote

I’m terribly sad and still find it hard to believe that Douglas has passed away. He will leave a hole in my heart and for sure in many other people’s, too. I first met him, like the other participants, at the conference in Potsdam, where I had the chance to talk with him about his studies, his first foreign adventure and many other things. When it was time for me to return home, I invited him to stay at my place in Hamburg, if he would pass by there during his stay in Germany. I did not expect him to call me the next day saying he was on the way to visit me. We had a great time and long conversations every day. I was impressed by his immense curiosity, his courage and his mature thoughts on many matters. He seemed like a little brother to me and I was constantly looking at my mobile phone during work, anxious about him getting lost in the city. But he didn’t and so he spent some days with me and my girlfriend. On his last day in Hamburg we had a farewell picnic in a park close by. He enjoyed it a lot and we set up plans to visit him in São Paulo. When he was back in Brazil, he continued to keep me updated about what happened in his life. And there was a lot going on. He was very excited about going to Alabama, just another step on his way to where he chose his life to go to, I thought. And it is still unbelievable and painful that he won’t be able to go any further in this direction with all the potential he had. I will remember him walking down the streets with his green crocs and large suitcase, eager to know everything about every place. I will remember his great sense of humour, his overwhelming commitment to pursue his dreams and just for being a very, very special person.
I’m so grateful to have met you, Douglas. Be well, wherever you are!

 

Menatullah Hendawy wrote

When we First (and last) met last May I (knew) that we will stay in touch, meet again, and may be cooperate in future projects. But death seems way closer than what we feel, think, or expect.

May your soul rest in peace.
May we meet again, in a better place
May your death teach us about the reality of life

Same as how your life showed us the beauty within hardships, your death shall remark another turning point in our lives.

وَمَا تَدْرِ‌ي نَفْسٌ مَّاذَا تَكْسِبُ غَدًا ۖ وَمَا تَدْرِ‌ي نَفْسٌ بِأَيِّ أَرْ‌ضٍ تَمُوتُ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّـهَ عَلِيمٌ خَبِيرٌ
لقمان 34
“No soul is aware of what it will earn tomorrow and no soul knows in which land it will die. Surely, Allah is the Knower, the Aware”
Holy Quran – 31:34