Slum Tourism: is it ethical? It is difficult to find someone that can answer this question from both a professional and an academic background. However, Tamara Ramos finds the perfect fit: Elisa Spampinato. She has studied Anthropology & Sociology in Italy (Rome) and Production Engineering in Brazil (Rio de Janeiro) and has an extensive portfolio of research on different subjects, from local governance and participatory democracy to local community development, social innovation and community-based tourism.
Tamara: What did your research focused on?
Elisa: My research did not deal with the simple moral question: is Slum Tourism good or bad. People go on these tours for lots of reasons – some for the thrill of seeing poor people (the zoologic interest). Others for academic interest, or because they are involved with social and political movements, are international volunteers, or simple curious travellers.
Confronted with a variety of realities, I decided not to focus my research on the reasons that motivate tourists, but rather on the different ways in which Slum Tourism is offered in the city of Rio de Janeiro. My research aimed to analyse the degree of community involvement in the design, organization and delivery of the tourism services offered in that particular location.
Read the full interview here.