Category Archives: Academic publication

Journal article: Responsible Slum Tourism, Egyptian Experiences

A new article on slum tourism has been published in ‘Annals of Tourism Research‘. It is titled ‘Responsible slum tourism: Egyptian Experience‘ and was written by dr. Moustafa A. Mekawy. This is one of the first publications dealing with the concept of slum tourism in an Egyptian context and therefore should prove an interesting read.


This paper aims to evaluate stakeholders’ views on the potential role that slum tourism and its associated products can play in enhancing living conditions in slums in Egypt. Empirical results were obtained using two quantitative surveys: one to investigate dwellers’ perceptions and a second to select appropriate pro-poor products based on stakeholders’ preferences. Findings show that inhabitants have positive attitudes toward the possibility of benefiting from slum tourism, but they differed in their ranking of the appropriateness of related pro-poor products. Based on findings, authorities should develop appropriate slum tourism products and typologies, as a planning threshold, to enhance living conditions of dwellers. A useful planning way of drawing ties between slum types and typologies is presented.

The article can be found at the website of Annals of Tourism Research

Discount Code for Slum Tourism Book

As mentioned in the previous post a new book slum tourism has recently been published with Routledge Pubilications. We are happy to announce that we can offer a 20% discount* on the  book to followers of

To order the copy with the discount code, simply quote SLUMTOUR12 when placing your order online.

Alternatively, you can print the Slum Tourism flyer (pdf, 1mb in size) and order the book by post.

*Discount code valid till 31/07/2012


New Book on Slum Tourism

Last week a new book on slum tourism was published by Routledge Publications. Edited by Fabian Frenzel, Ko Koens and Malte Steinbrink, it contains both theoretically oriented papers papers as well as more practical case study examples of slum tourism of seven different countries on four continent. In combination with the special issue of Tourism Geographies on slum tourism that was discussed earlier on , the book provides a comprehensive overview of the current empirical, practical and theoretical knowledge on the subject.

Within the book a critical review of issues associated with slum tourism is provided, asking why slums are visited, whether they should be visited, how they are represented, who benefits and in what way? As such the work promises to offers new insights to tourism’s role in poverty alleviation and urban regeneration, power relations in contact zones and tourism’s cultural and political implications.





1. Slum Tourism – A New Trend in Tourism?

Part 1: Situating Slum Tourism

2. Wanting to Live with Common People? The Literary Evolution of Slumming

3. Beyond ‘Othering’ the Political Roots of Slum-Tourism

4. Slum Tourism: For the Poor by the Poor

5. Competition, Cooperation and Collaboration: Business Relations and Power in Township Tourism

Part 2: Representation of Poverty

6. ‘A Forgotten Place to Remember: Reflections on the Attempt to Turn a Favela into a Museum’

7. Tourism of Poverty: The Value of Being Poor in the Non-Governmental Order

8. Negotiating Poverty: The Interplay Between Dharavi’s Production and Consumption as a Tourist Destination

9. Reading the Bangkok Slum

Part 3: Slum Tourism and Empowerment

10. Favela Tourism: Listening to Local Voices

11. Slum Tourism and Inclusive Urban Development: Reflections on China

12. Poverty Tourism as Advocacy: A Case in Bangkok

13. Curatorial Interventions in Township Tours: Two Trajectories Conclusion

14. Keep on Slumming?


Special Issue “Tourism Geographies” on Slum Tourism

The first ever special issue on Slum Tourism in an Academic Journal will soon be out. Volume 14  issue 2 of  “Tourism Geographies” will be titled “Global Perspectives on Slum Tourism” and is completely dedicated to the subject. It contains journal articles on the history of slum tourism, the current state of research in the field, the way it is represented and consumed as well as the ethical debates that continue to surround it. As a whole this is a very welcome addition to the little academic literature that is currently available and we would like to thank “Tourism Geographies” for taking this step to increase the knowledge on the subject.

Although the printed version of the special issue will not be out until May  2012, the articles can already be found and downloaded online. Although all articles will receive a separate post at a later time, below an overview and links to all the articles can be found below.

Slum Tourism: Developments in a Young Field of Interdisciplinary Tourism Research
Fabian Frenzel & Ko Koens
Pages: 1-18
DOI: 10.1080/14616688.2012.633222

‘We did the Slum!’ – Urban Poverty Tourism in Historical Perspective
Malte Steinbrink
Pages: 1-22
DOI: 10.1080/14616688.2012.633216

Poor but Happy: Volunteer Tourists’ Encounters with Poverty
Émilie Crossley
Pages: 1-19
DOI: 10.1080/14616688.2011.611165

Slum Tourism: Representing and Interpreting ‘Reality’ in Dharavi, Mumbai
Peter Dyson
Pages: 1-21
DOI: 10.1080/14616688.2011.609900

Informal Urbanism and the Taste for Slums
Kim Dovey & Ross King
Pages: 1-19
DOI: 10.1080/14616688.2011.613944

Mobile Imaginaries, Portable Signs: Global Consumption and Representations of Slum Life
Uli Linke
Pages: 1-26
DOI: 10.1080/14616688.2012.633218

Glimpses of Another World: The Favela as a Tourist Attraction
Thomas Frisch
Pages: 1-19
DOI: 10.1080/14616688.2011.609999

Encounters over Garbage: Tourists and Lifestyle Migrants in Mexico
Eveline Dürr
Pages: 1-17
DOI: 10.1080/14616688.2012.633217

A review of “Tourism and Poverty”
Cristina Jönsson
Pages: 1-3
DOI: 10.1080/14616688.2012.633221

Update: The printed version of the special issue is out now.

Poverty Tourism and the Problem of Consent

In an earlier post I discussed a paper written by Evan Selinger, Kevin Outterson and Kyle Powys Whyte that was published by the Boston University of Law. The authors have published another paper on pvoerty tourism, this time focusing on the ethical question of poverty tourism and the difficulties surrounding consent.

They discuss whether it is morally permissible for financially privileged tourists to visit places for the purpose of experiencing where poor people live, work, and play? They discuss some of the pros and cons of poverty and slum tourism and conclude that tourists should only participate in poverty tours if there is a well-established collaborative and consensual process in place, akin to a “fair trade” process.  The findings are commendable and provide an opportunity for discussing how to establish what is fair and how often divided communities can benefit. Unfortunately they do not enter this discussion nor how tourists should be able to identify such fair trade processes beyond the establishment of fair-trade poverty tours.

The paper can be downloaded from the homepage of the school of law at Boston University

Selinger, E., Outterson, K. & Powys Whyte, K. (2011) Poverty Tourism and the Problem of Consent. Boston, Boston University School of Law.

Poverty tourism, justice and policy

Evan Selinger, Kevin Outterson and Kyle Powys Whyte published a paper last month titled “poverty tourism, justice and policy” in which they discuss whether poverty tourism should be subject to specific policy constraints based on moral grounds.

They look at this matter through favela tours in Rocinha, Brazil and garbage dump tours in Mazatlan, Mexico. In their conclusion they  argue that slum or poverty tours are a result of complex social relationships that require individual attention  and policy research.

The paper can be downloaded from the homepage of the school of law at Boston University and is set to be published in a future edition of “Public Integrity

Selinger, E., Outterson, K. & Powys Whyte, K. (2011) Poverty Tourism, Justice and Policy. Boston, Boston University School of Law.


‘I went to the City of God’: Gringos, guns and the touristic favela

Bianca Freire-Medeiros recently published an article in the Journal fo Lain American Cultural studies regarding the  influence of the film City of God on the way tourists experience the favela (in this case Rocinha) in “real life”. She investigates how experiences are related back to idealised notions that have been taken from the cinematic favela of City of God and looks at the extent to which this gives further legitimacy to such images.

The article can be downloaded from Ingenta connect although unfortunately a subscription is required.

Freire-Medeiros, B. (2011) “I went to the City of God”: Gringos, guns and the touristic favela. Journal of Latin American Cultural Studies: Travesia, 20 (1), p.p.21.

If you have recently seen or published a journal article, book or any other type of publication that involves slum tourism, please let us know so we can make others aware of it.

Cultural tourism in the Gambia

Janet Thorne recently wrote a professional report on her experiences of cultural tourism in the Gambia. Her findings suggest that these tours bear similarities to slum tours and, similarly to slum tours are promoted  with the promise of an insight into “the real Gambia” by certain tour operators and informal tour guides.

Thorne further shows how tourists on package holidays in this mass tourism destination certainly have an interest in such tours. What particularly surprised her on this matter was how similar the interests expressed by tourists in The Gambia were to those in the slum/poverty tourism literature. Among other things, tourists are hoping and expecting to see “everyday life” and have a more “authentic” tourist experience than is offered in general. Tourists are both intrigued as well as shocked by the poverty they see thus partially fulfilling this desire for authenticity.

While written as a more practical report rather than a purely academic work of tourism, the report contains much useful information on these cultural tours.  The finding that there is demand from for these kinds of tours among package tourists in the Gambia alone is interesting. The destination is mainly known for its Sun, Sea and Sand package tours where tourists come specifically to relax. Thorne goes further however and also discusses different forms of interaction between locals and tourists as well as difficulties of market access and local participation.

All in all this professional report brings up the important question of when cultural tourist activites can be categorised as poverty or slum tourism? This may be easy in the case of favela or township tourism as the practices are limited to certain geographical areas. However as Thorne shows, similar practices take place elsewhere as well under a label of cultural tourism.

The report can be downloaded here and those wishing to contact Janet can do so at

Thorne, J. (2011) Selling culture to package tourists: An exploration of demand for intangible heritage excursions in the Gambia. MSc. Leeds, Leeds Metropolitan University

Gecekondu tourism in Turkey

In an earlier post I mentioned how we are trying to get some sort of overview on where slum tourism takes place. Doing this, we found certain forms of slum tourism that are temporary in nature rather than permanent.

Oda project

A good example of this can be found in the paper Gecekondu Chic by Derya Özkan, based on her PhD-thesis. She only discusses slum tourism briefly when she criticises the way in which it canturn poverty into a spectacle that can be aesteticised and consumed. However, particularly interesting  is her discussion of the Istanbul Bennial in 2003. Here informal housing (Gecekondu in Turkish) was used for an exhibited art project called “Ada”. A simulation gecekondu was built together with gecokondu builders from real life in the open in the backyard of the exhibition venue “Antrepo”.

Oda project

While the intention of the project was to highlight the production process of the gecekondu, it became a spectacle and was later criticised for aesthecisising the gecekondu and turning it into a cultural commmodity that can be consumed much in the same way as slum tourism in other places.

Although not intended as such, it would certainly seem that the Ada project created the first type of gecekondu tourism. I am not aware of more recent gecekondu tourism projects and/or gecekondu tours, but this example does show that temporal forms of slum tourism at least may be more common than we think.