Monday, March 10, 2008

Favela tours in the NYT

By most accounts, slum tourism began in Brazil 16 years ago, when a young man named Marcelo Armstrong took a few tourists into Rocinha, Rio de Janeiro’s largest favela, or shantytown. His company, Favela Tour, grew and spawned half a dozen imitators. Today, on any given day in Rio, dozens of tourists hop in minivans, then motorcycles and venture into places even Brazil’s police dare not tread. Organizers insist the tours are safe, though they routinely check security conditions. Luiz Fantozzi, founder of the Rio-based Be a Local Tours, says that about once a year he cancels a tour for security reasons.


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