Slums for Voyeurs or Responsible Travelers?

Slum tours have become very popular in the past years. What can you expect? Should you be worried to be called a voyeur or rather a responsible tourist?


Addressing the World of the Poor

Gregory Dolgos

Traditionally, the slums, barrios, ghettoes, favelas spreading up the hills around or filling the centers of big cities have been no-go zones for tourists – areas offering nothing of interest, where travelers were likely to get mugged or worse. But in the last few years, particularly after the success of the film Slumdog Millionare, many of the danger zones of major cities have been transformed into attractions. However, the change has been accompanied by controversy about whether such 'slum ...

The Third Face of Mumbai

Denise Chen

A newspaper reporter interviewed me recently. One of the questions she asked me was about the poverty in Mumbai, and our tours to Dharavi, Asia's largest slum. "Is this not voyeurism?" she asked me. "The affluent stare at the poor; and you make money off it?" The answer to this question is complex, so here is an attempt to look a little deeper at the issue. First of all, there is no avoiding the poor in Mumbai. The slums are all-pervasive. In many parts of the city, there are shanties by the r...

Teaching Tourism in the Slums

Ashley Nault

For the last 18 years, Rejane Reis, the owner of Exotic Tours, has been changing the image that the world has about favelas, showing a side of Rio de Janeiro that few people have experienced. One of the first tours offered by Exotic Tours was through the shantytown of Rocinha, the largest favela in Latin America. While going through the alleys, several children followed Rejane asking for money. Instead of giving the children money, she decided to teach them tourism, enabling them to become part...

Kibera: The Friendliest Slum in the World

Chris Grad

Welcome in Kibera in Nairobi, the largest slum in East-Africa. When I arrived in Kibera for the first time I immediately felt welcome because of the many children calling 'hello, how are you?' to me and trying to give me a hand. Despite all the challenges Kibera represents for its inhabitants, it also has numerous opportunities and hopes to offer to them. It is an interesting place to visit for tourists in Kenya. The guides of Kiberatours, a tour-company specialized in tours in Kibera, are pr...