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What Would The Neighbours Say? A Study Into Community Perceptions Of Slum Tours In Dharavi

Slum tourism has become extremely popular in the 21st century, especially in Mumbai. With its escalating use, throughout media and existing scholarship slum tourism has generated a heated and critical debate especially concerning ethics and its so-called ‘voyeuristic’ nature. However, scholarly research on slum tourism remains limited and fragmented.

Reality Tours & Travel began, first and foremost, to serve the Dharavi Community. To bring people here to challenge the negative stereotypes they held about ‘slums’ and sensitise them to the multilayered, multifaceted cultures, communities and lives being played out in ‘Asia’s largest slum’. To turn the profits we made from taking these tours into tangible, positive change through our sister-NGO, Reality Gives.

For us, it’s critically important that the Dharavi community we seek to serve has a say in what we are doing. That the community which is directly impacted by slum tourism are given a platform to voice their opinions in the debate.

Those external to the settlement often contest Dharavi, but what do the inhabitants of this settlement think about slum tourism? Do they think it is good or bad? Do they believe the tours are helping or disrupting the community? Have the presence of tourists changed life in the settlement?

Bearing these questions in mind, Durham University student Rudra Rhodes conducted research with us here, aiming to advance the theoretical discussion surrounding slum tourism today. Her report examines the perceptions of the Dharavi community towards slum tourism in Dharavi today, with a specific focus on Reality Tours & Travel and our sister-NGO, Reality Gives.

We’re delighted to share the result of a lot of hard work. Click here  to access ‘ Reality Tours and Travel: A Community Perception on Slum Tourism in Dharavi’ in its entirety and learn more.