Slum Tourism: Developments in a young field of interdisciplinary tourism research
Frenzel, F. and Koens, K. (2012) Slum Tourism: Developments in a young field of interdisciplinary tourism research. Tourism geographies, 14 (2). pp. 195-212. ISSN 1461-6688
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Publisher's URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14616688.2012.633222
This paper introduces the special issue on slum-tourism with a reflection on the state of the art on this new area of tourism research. After a review of the literature we discuss the breaths of research that was presented at the conference ‘Destination Slum’, the first international conference on slum-tourism. Identifying various dimensions as well as similarities and differences of slum tourism in different parts of the world we contest that slum tourism has evolved from being practiced at only a limited number of places into a truly global phenomenon which now is performed on five continents. Equally the variety of services and ways in which tourists visit the slums has increased. The widening scope and diversity of slum tourism is clearly reflected in the variety of papers presented at the conference and in this special issue. Whilst academic discussion on the theme is evolving rapidly, slum tourism is still a relatively young area of research. Most papers at the conference and indeed most slum tourism research as a whole appears to remain focused on understanding issues of representation, often concentrating on a reflection of slum tourists rather than tourism. Aspects such as the position of local people remained underexposed as well as empirical work on the actual practice of slum tourism. To address these issues, we set out a research agenda in the final part of the article with potential avenues for future research to further the knowledge on slum tourism.
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