Slum Tourism in the Developing World

Nikki's picture

One of the new trends in travel is tours of the ghettos and slums to get an idea of how large portions of the developing world really live. There were several tours offered in Time Out Buenos Aires to visit the villas de miseria or more politically correctly: villas de emergencia in the outskirts of town.

It's certainly important to understand poverty in any country you're visiting. I remember getting on a plane after spending some time in Guatemala and the woman sitting next to me asked "wasn't Antigua just like Disneyland?" If Disneyland had starving children, then yes, most definitely! It's easy and natural to want to isolate yourself from poverty when visiting the developing world, because it's so heartbreaking to see people struggle, to see kids working and hungry, and to know you could change someone's life for the cost of a month worth of lunches out at home, but that the problem seems infinite.

On the other hand, I wonder if it feels like a real invasion of privacy from the perspective of slum residents for people who have paid more money than you make in a week to come stare in your make-shift house, with cameras dangling from their necks and a look of horror and pity. I suppose it depends on how the tours are run, and whether a chunk of the proceeds go to local projects.

What do you think?

I agree with you Nikki, it´s important to know the place you´re visiting. Like in every country they can show you the nice hotels and great like but also the poverty, the lack of education and social security. Best Joyce

I think development of the country should not be on how, they developed in technology and science or industrial development ,but it should be on the poverty percentage or number of people living in the slum areas.So slum tourism should be included with the other visiting places.
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