Making Slums Into Attractions: The Role of Tour Guiding in the Slum Tourism Development in Kibera and Dharavi
journal contributionposted on 29.10.2015, 11:57 by Fabian Frenzel, S. Blakeman
This article investigates how slums are made into a tourism attraction. We focus in particular on the role of tour guides and tour guiding operations in this process. In the tourism literature in general tour guiding has been subject to much reflection and debate. However, tour guides' role in enabling tourism in new places, in the making of attractions, has not been discussed much. Also, in the emerging research on slum tourism little attention has been given to tour guides and their roles. This article addresses both research gaps in providing insights into tour guiding in slum tourism, and by addressing the roles of tour guides in attraction making through a comparative analysis of tourism in two slums: Dharavi, in Mumbai, India, and Kibera, in Nairobi, Kenya. Based on empirical research of tour guiding operations we found that different levels of formality in tour guiding coexist across destinations. Formal tour guiding operations are more successful in establishing a slum as an attraction as they enable significant growth in tourist numbers. However, formal tour guiding operations and strong international participation in their foundation are factors that seem to undermine to some extent the creation of intimate and authentic encounters in tour guiding, preferred by some tourists. This leaves space for more informal tour guiding, with strong local ties, which are better placed to produce intimate experiences.