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slum tourism in brazil

Favela Tourism in Brazil  December 23, 2017 – 03:07 pm
Favela Tourism in Brazil - The Brazil Business

Slum tourism, once a marginalized business few tourists dared to experience, has seen a rapid rise in popularity in Brazil. Find out more about this phenomenon in this article.

Slum tourism in Brazil is one of the most well-known tourist attractions in the world. Alongside India, South Africa and other countries, a large number of tourists visit the country every year with the purpose of getting to know one of the poorest places in the world.


Before 2008, few people considered visiting favelas as a must-do activity from their trips to Rio de Janeiro. Since that year, however, going to favelas has become one of the most popular attractions in the city, with survey data showing that nearly 42, 000 Rio tourists visit them per year. Favela tourism continues to rise in double digits and a study found that half of its respondents booked or expected to book a favela tour while in Rio.

Seeing potential in this market, the Brazilian government decided to help increase the number of favelas visitors. In January 2013, the Ministry of Tourism made an agreement with Rio de Janeiro state's government in order to encourage tourism in favelas, which have been pacified. The main target is to get tourists in 2014 and 2016, the years when huge sports and competitions will be held by Brazil – the FIFA World Cup and the Olympic Games.

The guided visits are made by tour operators, and it is preferable to go with a group of tourists and a tour guide who already knows the area, instead of going alone. There are tour operators offering packages of visits that usually last from 2 to 4 hours.

Touristic Points

Although slum tourism is a global trend in the travel industry, the rise of favela tourism is, perhaps, unique to Rio. Favelas such as Rocinha and Vidigal, which were originally illegal settlements on some of Rio’s morros (rock formations), have some of the best views of the city. There are also unique tourist points inside the favelas, such as São Daniel Projeta Church, in Manguinhos, which was designed by Oscar Niemayer, or a Michael Jackson bronze statue in Santa Marta, the slum where the singer recorded the video clip “They Don't Really Care About Us”.

Touristic Guide

The first edition of a favela's tourist guide was launched in July 2013. Compiled by Agência de Notícias das Favelas (ANF), a favelas' news agency that gathers leisure activities in 11 pacified communities in Rio: Chapéu Mangueira, Complexo do Alemão, Complexo do Cantagalo–Pavão-Pavãozinho Mangueira, Manguinhos, Prazeres, Providência, Rocinha, Salgueiro, Santa Marta and Vidigal. A short overview on each favela and tips on how to get to them using public transport is also offered.


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