Researcher examines impact of slum tourism

New research from Dr Fabian Frenzel from the School of Management examines whether slums across the world have become ‘cool’ as more and more tourists discover favelas, ghettos, townships and barrios on leisurely visits.

In a new study, ‘Slumming It, The Tourist Valorization of Urban Poverty’, published by Zed Books on 25 June, Dr Frenzel argues that slum tourism doesn't have to be exploitative - it can draw attention to important global justice issues and encourage new networks of solidarity and care.

He said: “Many tourists seek to better understand the conditions in which urban poverty unfolds today. People may debate the salience of different forms of tourism to achieve such understanding. But let us not forget that other tourists choose to completely ignore inequality and other problems in the places they visit. The morality of slum tourism needs to be discussed in this light.”

The research covers slums in Rio de Janeiro, Bangkok and multiple cities in South Africa, Kenya and India.  The study examines the roots and consequences of the growing phenomenon whose effects have ranged from gentrification and urban policy reform to the organization of international development and poverty alleviation.

Controversially, Frenzel argues that the rise of slum tourism has drawn attention to important global justice issues, and is far more complex than we initially acknowledged.

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