Exploring the Other Side of Favela Tourism. An Insight into the Residents' View

R. Duarte, K.B.M. Peters

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Favela tourism in Rio de Janeiro is becoming increasingly popular, especially among international travellers. However, academic debates often condemn this type of tourism as a form of exploitative voyeurism. This article intends to clarify this phenomenon and explore the potential contribution of tourism for social transformation. Supporting the idea that tourism can be seen as a platform for dialogue and social change (Ateljevic, 2009). Residents can benefit from tourism in terms of intercultural understanding and increase of self-esteem (Smith and Robinson, 2006). This study is based on qualitative research done in two favelas: Rocinha and Pereira da Silva. Insights into the residents’ perception upon tourism development were obtained through participant observation and interviews. Results showed that under certain circumstances, favela tourism can indeed support processes of transformation in favelas. It can lead to a more realistic perception of favela residents and can stimulate socio-economic opportunities. Although acknowledging the complexity of tourism in vulnerable areas, this study shows that it can also make a positive contribution. The outcomes of this research bring a new light on the topic of favela tourism and to a better understanding of the complexity of favelas as an object of study.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1123-1131
JournalRevista Turismo & Desenvolvimento = Journal of Tourism and Development
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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