Reality Tours and Travel, the company operating slum tours in Dharavi, India has won the Responsible Tourism Awards 2012. The company is awarded the prize on the basis of their educational Dharavi Slum Tours that is said to make it possible for tourists to tour a slum in India in a responsible way.
The Awards Judges said: “We were really impressed by this fully integrated approach to realising the social purpose of using tourism to raise awareness of the reality of slum life, good and bad, and to raise money from its business and its customers to assist the community in Dharavi to develop. It has developed a form of Respon
sible Tourism that deserves to be adapted and replicated elsewhere; for this reason, as well as its own substantial achievements, we have selected Reality Tours and Travel as the 2012 Overall Winner of the Virgin Holidays Responsible Tourism Awards.”
This is the second year running that a slum tourism product (or similar) won the overall Responsible Tourism awards. Last year it was Sock Mob Events/Unseen Tours that won
with their tours of London by homeless people. This is an interesting development. Whereas slum tourism has received much criticism on ethical grounds, it now also is increasingly recognised as a potential form of responsible travel. One of the most needed things to achieve this, would appear to be transparency on where income and profits go. The website of Reality Tours has an impressive ‘transparency
‘ section on their website that shows how their income is spend. Unfortunately, the last report dates from March 2011, so it is not possible to see the developments of the last 1,5 years in which the company can be expected to have grown much.
A recent article by Fabian Frenzel and Ko Koens titled “Slum Tourism: Developments in a Young Field of Interdisciplinary Tourism Research” can now be downloaded for free from the publisher’s website. It provides a short overview of current central themes in the literature on the subject and sets out a short research agenda. As such it is both a useful introduction for researchers that are new to the subject, as well as those that want to reacquaint themselves with subject to do new research in the future.
It is not certain how long this articel will remain open access, so it may be useful to download it soon!
This paper introduces the Special Issue on slum tourism with a reflection on the state of the art on this new area of tourism research. After a review of the literature we discuss the breadth of research that was presented at the conference ‘Destination Slum’, the first international conference on slum tourism. Identifying various dimensions, as well as similarities and differences, in slum tourism in different parts of the world, we contest that slum tourism has evolved from being practised at only a limited number of places into a truly global phenomenon which now is performed on five continents. Equally the variety of services and ways in which tourists visit the slums has increased.
The widening scope and diversity of slum tourism is clearly reflected in the variety of papers presented at the conference and in this Special Issue. Whilst academic discussion on the theme is evolving rapidly, slum tourism is still a relatively young area of research. Most papers at the conference and, indeed, most slum tourism research as a whole appears to remain focused on understanding issues of representation, often concentrating on a reflection of slum tourists rather than tourism. Aspects, such as the position of local people, remain underexposed as well as empirical work on the actual practice of slum tourism. To address these issues, we set out a research agenda in the final part of the article with potential avenues for future research to further the knowledge on slum tourism.
Frenzel, F. & Koens, K. (2012) Slum Tourism: Developments in a Young Field of Interdisciplinary Tourism Research. Tourism Geographies, 14 (2), p.pp.1–18.
While slum tourism generally is not associated with Central America, Eveline Duerr describes in her article Urban Poverty, Spatial Representation and Mobility: Touring a Slum in Mexico how in Mazatlán, Mexico a multidenominational church offers regular tours to the city’s garbage dump. She looks at different modes of (im)mobiilties and the implications this has for people and places and describesteh ambigious effects of integrating marginalised places into the urban representation.
The popularity of slum tourism in academic journals continues to increase.Here are two new ones:
An article titled Touristic mobilities in India’s slum spaces by Anya Diekmann and Kevin Hannamwas recently published in Annals of Tourism Research.They examine walking tour experiences of tourists doing slum tours in India to examine representational and non-representational theories of social lifes
The ethics of slum tourism in India are revisited by Deepak Chhabra and Akshat Chowdhury in their article titled Slum Tourism: Ethical or Voyeuristic? They note how slum tourism constitutes complex production process strives to provide both meaningful and profitable tourist gazes, although heavy traces of voyeurism can be found.
An interesting radio broadcast on slum tourism was recently aired by the BBCWorld Service. Its “Business Daily” programme reports on slum tours in Dharavi, India and we hear a short analysis from Dr. Malte Steinbrink on the subject about whether the phenomenon represents aid or exploitation for slum-dwellers.
The programme can be download from the BBC World Service website, or you can download the report as an mp3 file directly from here (the part on slum tourism starts at 7.12).
BBC News has published an article on slum tourism highlighting the ethical debate on slum tourism. While the article holds little new information, it contains a decent summary of the debates. Furthemore it is another example that slum tourism incresasingly gets attention in the mainstream media after a similar article appeared in the UK “Metro” free newspape.
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
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 slumtourism.net.
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
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 slumtourism.net , 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?
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
‘We did the Slum!’ – Urban Poverty Tourism in Historical Perspective
Poor but Happy: Volunteer Tourists’ Encounters with Poverty
Slum Tourism: Representing and Interpreting ‘Reality’ in Dharavi, Mumbai
Informal Urbanism and the Taste for Slums
Kim Dovey & Ross King
Mobile Imaginaries, Portable Signs: Global Consumption and Representations of Slum Life
Glimpses of Another World: The Favela as a Tourist Attraction
Encounters over Garbage: Tourists and Lifestyle Migrants in Mexico
A review of “Tourism and Poverty”
Update: The printed version of the special issue is out now.