Thursday, March 13, 2008

Poverty Tourism

Bored with Paris? Sick of perfect tropical islands? Had enough of shopping in New York? Then how about slumming it? Literally! Take your pick between the slums of Mumbai in India; Johannesburg, South Africa; Nairobi, Kenya; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Mazatian in Mexico or Cape Town in South Africa. Call it Poverty Tourism, Reality Tours, or just plain unsavoury voyeurism – you can now take guided tours into all these areas. Organisers will argue that it “raises awareness about poverty, fights stereotypes and brings money into destitute areas that wouldn’t otherwise benefit from tourism;” but as others argue, if you’re so concerned about helping these people, then just write them a cheque. True, ignoring poverty won’t make it go away but does ogling the destitute really constitute aid? You decide – and if you want to know more, I have the websites, the prices, the press releases.

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