Have you already heard about slum tourism? I’ll tell you briefly what it is. Basically, Slum tourism is a type of tourism that involves visiting impoverished areas. Originally focused on the slums of Londonand Manhattan in the 19th century, with wealthier people visiting the Bowery and the Five Points area of the Lower East Side, neighborhoods of poor immigrants, to see « how the other half lives », slum tourism became popular in many places, including India, Kenya, Indonesia, Detroit, and others. Today is a requested destination with vacation packages including accommodation and meals. For a favorable price, the most demanding tourists can experience first-hand how the poorest of the poor live – and without having to sacrifice the conveniences of the first world, such as wi- fi, heating and hot tubs. Brazil has become more and more appealing to the tourists eye from around the world. The Brazilian artistic and natural heritage, the fraternal hospitality, the friendliness of the people make Brazil a very appealing destination. But unfortunately its poverty seems to become an asset. Ironically, the country that has the largest rainforest of the world, representing over half of the planet’s remainingrainforests and comprising the largest and most biodiverse tract of tropical rainforest in the world; the country that has one of the most beautiful coastline in the world is promoting its tourism industry using the misery. A survey conducted in 2012 by the Getulio Vargas Foundation, a Brazilian think tank, showed that more than half of the tourists said to have interest in visiting slums.
Is slum tourism in Brazil ethical? According to people running the slum tourism business, the goal is to show that the favelas isn’t just about poverty and hardship, but about enterprise, humor and non-stop activity. But what do the residents think about the trails of tourists wondering around the shoulder-wide lanes where they live? Does anybody know? Does anybody care? An essential accusation that the advocates against slum tourism make is that it turns poverty into entertainment, something that can be momentarily experienced and then escaped from. As the savage reservation in Aldous Huxley`s Brave New World, the slum environment is the complete opposite of the controlled and sterile society that escaped from the poverty. Some people regard slum tourism as exploitative because slum dwellers don’t get a share of the profits made by some tours, but such a view is problematic because it reduces slum tourism to an economic exchange.
For centuries, the Brazilian society has sought a better future, away from poverty and misery that reach considerable part of the population. Unable to achieve the desired results , and perhaps tired of a struggle that seems to have no end, it’s time to change the common sense: the favela is cool, and the poverty is not as bad as it used to be.