City tourism: reason to cheer or protest?

Date: 7 December 2015

Venue: UAntwerp, Stadscampus, R.014 - Building R, Rodestraat 14 - 2000 Antwerp

Time: 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM

Organization / co-organization: IOB and USOS

Short description: Debating Development by Johannes Novy (Technical University Berlin) and Fabian Frenzel (University of Leicester and Potsdam)

About the lecture
Tourism has been a rapidly growing sector and is considered as one of the main economic development resources in many cities in both developing and developed countries. Many local actors are being mobilized too present their city in initiatives that are set up to further stimulate the growth of the tourism sector. Yet, such initiatives have also led to contestations of and conflicts over the impacts of the expanding tourism on urban spaces and on the life of residents in particular. In those disputes, most attention is given to the potentially negative effects tourism might have on neighborhoods, local communities and urban environment. In that sense, it is not really surprising that newly emerging activities such as slum tourism provoke some strong opinions.

Slum tourism is a type of tourism which ‘allows’ tourist to ‘observe’ people living in poverty and has become increasingly popular (partly due to the global success of the movie ‘Slumdog Millionaire’). While opponents argue that such practices are an invasion into the privacy of the local residents and should therefore be considered as an unethical way of generating income, those in favor argue that it is a promising tool to understand and eradicate poverty. In sum, the debate will discuss the opportunities and challenges that arise when trying to generate a positive impact of tourism on local resident.

Dr Johannes Novy is currently employed by the Brandenburgische Technische Universität Cottbus-Senftenberg as a Guest Professor for Planning Theory and will start as a lecturer for Spatial Planning at the University of Cardiff in October 2015. Previously, he worked as a senior researcher at the Technical University of Berlin. He holds a PhD in Urban Planning from Columbia University (New York) and wrote his doctoral thesis on tourism and leisure in the 21st Century City. Previously, he successfully completed a Master of Philosophy in Urban Planning (Columbia University) and a European Master of Arts in Comparative Urban Studies. The sustainability challenges arising from the emergence and growth of city tourism in its various forms are often at the centre of his academic work. In recent years, he has given various inspiring guest lectures and talks on new urban tourism, for instance during the 3rd Global Summit on City Tourism of the UN World Tourism Organization.


Dr Fabian Frenzel is a lecturer at the School of Management, University of Leicester. Previously, he also lectured at Bristol Business School and University of West of England. He holds a PhD from Leeds Metropolitan University and has a MSc in Political Sciences from Freie Universität Berlin. His principal research interests are political implications of international tourism and mobility. Through a Marie Curie Postdoctoral Fellowship he could conduct a comparative case study of three global destinations of tourism in areas of urban poverty. He is a founding member of the international slum tourism network and one of the key academics in the emerging research field of slum tourism. Within this field he is particularly interested in the role of tourism in empowering local communities. In 2012, Frenzel has also edited (with Ko Koens and Malte Steinbrink) the book entitled ‘Slum Tourism: Poverty, Power and Ethics’ (Routledge).

Entrance fee: Free


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