Slum tourism

« Back to Glossary Index

**History of Slum Tourism:**

– Slums have attracted interest since the 1800s, with wealthy British tourists visiting impoverished areas in cities like New York.
– Township tours in South Africa in the 1980s aimed to educate about apartheid, attracting international tourists.
– In the mid-1990s, tours to disadvantaged areas in developing nations, known as slums, gained popularity.
– Ghetto tourism, encompassing various forms of entertainment, emerged in 2005.
– Locations like Harlem, New Orleans, and Mumbai gained tourism interest due to slum visits.

**Locations and Motivations for Slum Tourism:**

– Slum tourism is prevalent in urban areas of developing countries, including townships in South Africa and favelas in Brazil.
– Specific areas like Dharavi in Mumbai and parts of Detroit and Los Angeles attract tourists.
– Charleroi in Belgium is an example of slum tourism in a developed country.
– Post-disaster, areas like Louisiana became slum tourist attractions due to disaster tourism.
– Tourists are primarily motivated by curiosity, gaining perspective on their own lives, and insight into inner-city life.

**Criticism and Controversies of Slum Tourism:**

– Critics label slum tourism as poverty porn and voyeuristic, turning poverty into entertainment.
– Some argue that tours exploit poverty for entertainment, while others highlight economic benefits for local communities.
– Controversies have arisen over tours during holidays and packages offering stays in slums.
– Concerns about the dignity of residents and ethical questions about exploitation are raised.
– Debate on whether slum tourism fosters empathy or reinforces stereotypes.

**Media and Cultural References to Slum Tourism:**

– Various media and cultural references like songs and films depict slum tourism.
– Related concepts include disaster tourism, human zoos, ruins photography, and urban exploration.
– Slum tourism is commonly referred to as ‘poverty tourism’.
– It involves visiting impoverished areas, often conducted by tourists in urban slums.
– It raises ethical questions and provides insights into poverty and social issues.

**Impact and Future Trends in Slum Tourism:**

– Slum tourism can contribute to local economies, raise awareness about poverty, and perpetuate stereotypes.
– It raises ethical concerns about exploitation and can lead to the gentrification of slum areas.
– Future trends include growing interest in responsible tourism practices, emphasis on community engagement and empowerment, and calls for ethical guidelines and regulations.
– There is a shift towards sustainable and respectful tourism with an increasing focus on the impact on local residents.

Slum tourism (Wikipedia)

Slum tourism, poverty tourism, ghetto tourism or trauma tourism is a type of tourism that involves visiting impoverished areas, or in some cases, areas that were affected by disasters, such as nuclear fallout zones like Chernobyl or Fukushima (hence the term "trauma tourism"). Originally focused on the slums and ghettos of London and Manhattan in the 19th century, slum tourism is now prominent in South Africa, India, Brazil, Kenya, Philippines and the United States.

Slum tourism in Five Points, Manhattan in 1885
« Back to Glossary Index