Tourism and Events 2017 Conferences

A number of months have seemingly passed since my last entry, so apologies for the lack of updates. After some very inspiring and immensely rewarding sessions at the 2nd @TouRNet_WRDTC PhD Symposium (more info here, highly recommended for those undertaking a PhD in the tourism/events/hospitality fields!), I thought I would provide you with a brief snapshot of my work in progress. This will focus on my conference abstract acceptances for the 2017 summer season. I will be speaking at the following conferences:

Social justice and social sustainability of mega-event host communities. Tourism Hospitality & Events: Border Crossings & Inter-Connections Research Symposium. 24 May 2017, University of Sunderland, UK.

Social justice of mega-event and tourism host communities with Michael B. Duignan. Critical Tourism Studies Conference VII. 25-29 June 2017, Palma de Mallorca, Spain. Follow their Facebook page for further details.

Social justice of mega-event and tourism host communities with Michael B. Duignan. International Conference on Tourism, Ethics and Global Citizenship: Connecting the Dots. 3-6 July 2017, Apeldoorn, the Netherlands. Search the Twitter hashtag #ctd2017 for key conference announcements and further details.

Advancing sport mega-event research – five critical themes. Association for Events Management Education (AEME) 14th Annual Conference. 5-7 July 2017, Cardiff Metropolitan University, UK. Search the Twitter hashtag #AEME2017 for key conference announcements and further details.

Each of the conference abstracts will be posted on my academic and research profiles, namely academia and ResearchGate later on in the summer. Additionally, the conference presentations will be added to my SlideShare account.


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.