Is the Growing Trend of Slum Tourism Inappropriate?
Part of the trend of dark tourism, slum tourism brings visitors to the neighborhoods of the less fortunate to witness firsthand the way they live. In an article on Australia’s News.com, research shows that more than 1 million tourists visited these sites in 2014 – and popularity continues to grow.
While tour operators often work with these impoverished communities in an effort to help and provide access to tourists, the actually good that slum tourism generates is hard to pinpoint.
“We tend to think of tourism primarily as an economic transaction. But slum tourism actually does very little to directly channel money into slums,” Dr. Frenzel, a lecturer in the political economy of organization, said.
However, Frenzel went on to say that, if done correctly, bringing visitors into these neighborhoods could be very powerful and beneficial.
“Slum tourism has the power to increase the visibility of poor neighbourhoods, which can in turn give residents more social and political recognition.”
Ultimately, with the proper oversight, slum tourism can bring people together and be a powerful tool for the disenfranchised to gain power and recognition in a society that is largely ignoring them. But in order to truly address global inequality, we should look for where it enables cross-class encounters; where it encourages tourists to support local struggles for recognition and build the connections that can help form global grassroots movements as Frenzel suggests.
Here is the full article on the rise of slum tourism.
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