Leaving the EU is a backward step for the UK’s economy and environment

Firstly, apologies I have been away for a couple of days at Glastonbury. I wouldn’t normally leave this kind of post but I would like to reitterate the huge amount of respect I have for those who tried to keep us in the European Union (EU).

Both economically and environmentally we will suffer thanks to exiting the EU. We will have to agree new trade agreements with the EU which takes time, several years some sources have suggested. The arguments based around us leaving the EU resulting in the United Kingdom bring able to trade freely with other emerging nations (like BRICS) is completely unrealistic. In some cases the economies of these emerging nations are unstable and volatile at best. We have simply failed to listen to top economists and well respected institutions. To illustrate this since we voted to leave, ratings agency Standard and Poor’s have already stripped the UK of its top credit rating.

In terms of the environmental dangers, a recent expert review by a range of academics on behalf of the group The UK in a Changing Europe detailed how the EU has affected UK environmental policy and also how the UK has shaped wider environmental policies. The report emphasised how membership of the EU has been largely beneficial on the UK’s natural environment. Moreover it underlined how leaving the EU could be risky and may place the Climate Change Act in jeopardy in the near future.

As for the case and arguments around immigration, we have been unsuccessful in capturing accurate statistics on who is entering and leaving the UK. In addition we have also been unable to implement the most appropriate methods and approaches for controlling sudden influxes of immigrants through our borders.

If the UK wants to remain a world leading nation we need to have impact and influence locally, nationally and at a European and international level. This vote to leave the EU hinders our ability to influence on a global scale, and makes the UK a less attractive investment proposition compared to EU member nations.

Slum Tourism – Urban Renewal, Exploiting Marginal Economical Gains and Avoiding Destination Leakage

Slum tourism has rapidly emerged and evolved to become in its own right a growth tourism trend and one which possesses significant cultural value and appeal. Progress in this form of tourism can be principally linked to the rise in films, set and shot in the Global South for example Slumdog Millionaire. Academics have recognised that the practice of slum tourism operates and has undergone a series of advancements, which has consequently caused widespread global movement. This year saw the release of the book entitled “Slum Tourism: Poverty, Power and Ethics” by Frenzel et al. The objective of this edition was to provide the first systematic synopsis of the field, and assess diverse issues connected to slum tourism. Slum tourism can be represented as a burgeoning cultural phenomenon which is radically remaking experiences, identities and landscapes. Adaptations of forms of slum tourism seemingly resonate around the world, for example favela tourism in Brazil and township tourism in South Africa. Slum tourism in the Global South is a relatively recent development which rose to prominence towards the end of the apartheid movement in South Africa. International tourists expressed a desire to visit townships and places which suffered apartheid repression. Dr Malte Steinbrink exemplifies that South Africa has become a hotspot for township tourism. This unprecedented boom in slum tourism can be represented on a global scale. Slum tourism figures are estimated to be approaching one million tourists per year, with the average cash value of a slum tour costing between 20-30$ (lasting approximately four hours). Tourists are visiting slum destinations right across South Asia like Indonesia and India, and other well known slum destinations such as Brazil, Mexico and Kenya.

In recent times the Brazilian government have made vast and controversial attempts to boost favela tourism. Business Daily reported on the challenges threatening the production and consumption of this type of slum tourism. Brazil could face staging problems associated with hosting the 2014 Football World Cup and 2016 Olympic Games. The government hoped to re-image and revitalise the cities favelas (a case of urban renewal) for the World Cup and Olympic Games. They have acted in a forceful ad aggressive manner as heavily armed police officers have been sent into the slums to clear, clean-up and take control of some of its most dangerous drug fuelled slum regions ahead of the World Cup and Olympics. Ultimately the government have now secured control of Rio’s largest slum, which is due to be the setting for the Olympic village. Additional they wanted to reverse the perceived drug fuelled slum culture image indicative with the favelas, and showcase its potential as a peaceful and safe venue. On the contrary, this strategy adopted by the Brazilian government for these two major sporting events could result in significant rises in gentrification, and may cause unsystematic displacement of city communities. At past Olympic Games patterns of this nature have emerged and affordability problems for the local population have been exacerbated. Noticeably Sydney experienced inflated market values and housing prices during and after the Olympics. Between 2000 and 2004 there was a 60% increase in house prices in Sydney, correspondingly the South African real estate market and property prices surged in the period after the World Cup.

At the forefront of the slum tourism debate are the notions of economical development, destination leakage, ethics and exploitation. Critics of slum tourism regard it as unethical, degrading and exploiting poverty at its purest. Moreover it can complicate issues of access, power and rights in the locality. Alongside this there needs to be a recognition of how this form of tourism can improve conditions, develop communities and consequently lead to tangible benefits, and marginal economical gains for the host community. For slum tourism to operate prosperously for both parties (tourists and locals), partnerships must be forged between tour operators and communities. At community level, actions must be taken in order to relinquish commercial and trading control back to locals who enlist in slum tourism. A community centred approach involving collaboration and cooperation between members would enable slum tourism to flourish in the local economy. This would also reduce the probability of investment leaking out of the local economy and destination. Leakage refers to the revenue generated by tourism that is lost and circulated into other external economies. Inherently what is required for slum tourism to survive and thrive is a more responsible and sustainable framework for development. Responsible slum tourism and reducing leakage out of destinations can be achieved by practising smaller scale tourism developments. Predominantly slum tourism has the potential to benefit the slum community and the nation’s economy.