So after a month of dieting, being more careful with our money and vowing to travel more, this new month should find us lighter, and our pockets heavier-at least until we start spending all of that sensibly saved money on travelling, anyway!
If you’re feeling particularly determined to honour your New Year’s resolution to see more of the world, you might have already started thinking about taking a trip to a place you’ve always wanted to visit. If you’re considering visiting a country like India, Brazil, Kenya or Indonesia, you might be interested to know about something called ‘slum tourism’, where companies offer to take the curious traveller on tours to see how people live in some of the world’s largest slums. While many of them stand accused of turning poverty into a form of entertainment for the wealthy, others believe the tours highlight the plight of slum dwellers and argue that they offer tourists an opportunity to help their cause.
Now you may think slum tourism to be a new concept, but in fact it has been in existence for over 150 years, with London’s upper class residents visiting so-called ‘slum’ neighbourhoods such as Whitechapel or Shoreditch in order to witness for themselves the plight of their less fortunate neighbours. The same began to happen in New York City, where wealthy inhabitants would visit the Bowery and Five Points area of the Lower East Side to see how ‘the other half lives’.
Today, and as has been the case since the late 1990s, this kind of tourism is growing in popularity. Many of the tour companies claim to donate high percentages of their profits to local charities and to those affected by poverty, while others argue that the tours are of no help to anybody and that those affected see not a penny of the money raised.
If you have an opinion on this controversial subject, why not share it with other Go Girls in our Facebook poll, and tell us whether you think that there is still a place for slum tourism in today’s society?
Love: These tours are the perfect solution to raising awareness of extreme poverty while generating funds for the poor
Loathe: Slum tours seek only to profit from the rich and exploit poor and vulnerable people