Residents' Behaviors toward Slum Tourism

published: 2017-11-01 Japanese:日本語版へ

Lionel accompanied his friend's work of the tour on that day as a guide.Now is the era all places are used for tourism. Slums are no exception. Since 1990s slum tourism has been growing all over the world. Slum tourism is a type of tourism tourists experience and understand slum societies and cultures by visiting various places in slum areas including private homes, schools, souvenir shops, bars, and places non-governmental organizations' activities take place with support of guides who know the slum areas. The background of its expansion is said to be the expansion of practices aiming at poverty reduction and economic vitalization through tourism. However, in the meantime, it has been often criticized from the ethical viewpoints especially by the media that poor lives of slum residents are placed on show and commercialized.

I have been conducting research from sociological and anthropological viewpoints concerning how tourism has an influence on the slum areas and how slum residents deal with the tourism, particularly focusing on slum tourism in Kibera, which is located in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, and is considered to be the largest slum there. In this essay, I would like to introduce my questions and research challenges which are raised by focusing on attitudes and behaviors of Mr. Lionel (30 years old; male) toward tourism who was born and raised in Kenya and is a guide.

It is the sightseeing company's homepage two slum residents ran temporary. I participated in the tour once. However, I confirmed the homepage again another day, it was gone.When I introduced him an academic book titled Slum Tourism in Kibera, Nairobi, Kenya: Philanthropic Travel or Organised Exploitation of Poverty, he stared hard at its subtitle and content and said that he was shocked. When I listened to him, it seemed that he had known the critical view toward slum tourism for the first time.

It was when I visited Africa for the first time and participated in a slum tour as a tourist that I met him. I applied for the tour at a sightseeing company whose office was located in the downtown in Nairobi and it was him who guided me as a subcontract guide. He guided me to various places including his home by arranging the journey as if he took his friends around his hometown. What impressed me was a private house he stopped by after asking me if I would like to play a soccer game. Inside the house were six children playing Winning Eleven, a soccer game on "Play Station 3," which is also popular in Japan. I was surprised because I was introduced expensive things including "Play Station 3." The reason for this was that if slum tourism turns poverty into entertainment of the tour, his guide was a strange act which digressed from the main subject of the tourism.

How should we understand his statement that he did not know criticism toward slum tourism and his guide which digressed from the main subject of poverty tourism? It might be possible to explain these as his strategic acts. However, at this point, I consider that he did not behave intentionally and he just did not know "slum tourism."

One of the reasons for this is that many young people, including him, express their own occupation as "a jack-of-all-trades (hustle)." After starting my field survey, I noticed that he usually worked as a staff at an internet café and an engineer for repairing machines, and he seemed to work as a guide only when he was asked—once a month on average. Since he is one of the workers in the informal sector who has various jobs, guide means just one of the jobs for him. Probably it might be important for him to spend time seeking various measures for living rather than gathering information for the work as a guide.

Visiting the site of slum tourism enables me to find that residents there live in various positions to tourism. I would like to consider what phenomenon the slum tourism in Kibera is comprehensively by clarifying both problems which arise there and ethics for the residents while turning my eyes to them.

YAGI Tosuke

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