Sockmob Events/Unseen Tours have won the Responsible Tourism Awards 2011. Their product is an interesting one that in first instance may not be perceived as slum tourism, but certainly overlaps with it. It involves homeless people showing tourists their vision of the city. As such it appeals to tourists seeking a more ‘real’, ‘authentic’ or ‘exotic’ view of London. Seen in this way it is not too dissimilar from other slum tours. The win of Sockmob Events/UnseenTours shows that slum tours also can be perceived as a form of responsible tourism.
You can find the award ceremony for the Responsible tourism awards at this link: RT awards 2011
Although slumming has quickly become more popular in recent years, it is of course not a new phenomena. During Victorian times it already was a popular pastime for richer middle-class people in London and bigger cities in the United States. An interesting introduction to these earlier forms of slumming can be read in two books that may be worth reading.
Both books provide an overview of slumming in a different era. They show how at that time slumming also was a contended practice. Also they describe ways in which slumming changed the thinking of people at the time. It would be interesting to see how current forms of slum tourism compare to these historical examples and if anything can be learned from how slum tourism was practised in current times.
Slumtourism.net is a website aimed at bringing together and creating an international network of academics and practitioners working on tourism in deprived urban and rural areas. The website hopes to provide a stepping stone for further co-operations and projects on the subject. If you are active in this field, please register!