Slum tours in Jakarta now operating

An Indonesian tour operator, is now offering tourists the chance to see the ‘other’ side of Jakarta – a side tucked away from the sprawling shopping malls and 5-star hotels.

Jakarta Hidden Tours is advertising 3 different separate routes through the slums, allowing you to “explore Jakarta with a local and see how the majority of people live, work and raise their kids”.

Poverty tourism” has come into the spotlight since the release of Danny Boyle’s Oscar-winning Slumdog Millionaire.

Robert Finlayson, from Volunteering for International Development from Australia, helps run the tours and believes that the tours help social understanding. “Guilt is like pity, it stops you from seeing people as they actually are,” Finlayson was reported as saying. “What we wanted to say is…People are the same all over the world.”

Head of the Jakarta Urban Poor Consortium advocacy group, Wardah Hafidz, disagrees. “”It creates more problems for us than it helps,” Ms Hafidz said. “If you come with money then it’s a complete language of money. It doesn’t develop the understanding that they (the slum dwellers) are powerful, that they can help themselves.”

What do you think? Should tourists support this type of travel?
[via AFP]