Rich Tourists Now Staying in Luxury ‘Shanty Towns’ So They Can Pretend to Be Poor

But don't worry, there's wifi.

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It isn’t uncommon for wealthy travelers to visit economically struggling countries without ever interacting with the extreme poverty its citizens undergo on a daily basis. So a five-star South African resort decided to remedy this rich-kid travel ailment by creating something that is about 500 times worse than… let’s call it idealistic ignorance.

Emoya Luxury Hotel and Spa created a fake shanty town so that its wealthy clientele can pretend to slum it “within  the safe environment of a private game reserve.”

But don’t worry, even though the “Shanty Town” has intricately designed, colorful iron shacks, outdoor bathrooms, and battery operated radios, things aren’t too realistic for comfort. “This is the only Shanty Town in the world equipped with under-floor heating and wireless internet access!” its website boasts. 

And it’s also listed as ideal for team building exercises or theme parties. Because nothing is more festive than pretending to pinch pennies while spending a third of the median South African monthly income in one night.

Poverty tourism, also known as “poorism,” isn’t unheard of.  There have been various “reality” tours through the slums of Mumbai and Rio de Janeiro’s favelas for years.

While the merits of visiting a real shanty town, as if it were a museum exhibit or a wildlife reserve, is certainly up for moral debate, pretending to have the experience without ever having to set eyes on people who are actually suffering is a whole different kind of tone deaf.

120 comments
chimpy
chimpy

As usual, the socialists can never be happy. Even when the rich are exposed to life as poor. Even when some money is redistributed to thepoor (who else works at these reserves?). They simply cant be happy with it.

jenn.mullen
jenn.mullen

This was popular during the Inquisition for the rich, as well. I see we've come a long way.

netsky
netsky

This is PATHETIC!!! Making the way of living of the poor as an adventure and tourist attraction for the rich people who have everything is very demeaning and condescending to the people all over the work who actually live in poverty.  If those rich people really want to experience how it is to live in poverty they can join Catholic missionaries all over the world who actually have mission homes among the poor.  They do not separate themselves from the poor because they live among them.  That is how they are able to provide them with the services that they actually need and not what some highly paid executives in charitable institutions think they need.

victoria123
victoria123

While yes, the wealthy has the right to do whatever they want with their money this is just wrong. Instead of going on a gimmicky trip so they can say they know what it is like  to be poor they should just donate the money to those who actually need it.  

wangyutzu
wangyutzu

Actually, I think people have the right to spent their money in their own way, even use on this cruel hotel.....The whole poverty thing is some kind of joke to them, that they can pretend to use poor people`s situation as a custom play game.They want to feel the cool image of the poor, maybe because being a poor people make them feel free or what, but when they are search the careless feeling they show their ugly side that they are people who have no sympathy. And that is shame on them.    

Klutz64
Klutz64

At the very least. At the VERY. BOTTOM-OF-THE-BARREL LEAST this hotel could donate most of the proceeds from this "experience" to a charity legitimately educating people about poverty and helping to fight it.

JennahScott
JennahScott

Sad. It makes me think about my work at The Liberia Philanthropy Secretariat and how much more we need to do educate people.

LynneSmith
LynneSmith

I am totally disgusted with this, making a vacation out of the plight of so many that live this life and die this life on a daily basis, and after all is said and done, they get to go back to their pampered lives, while the real poverty continues.Only the rich and famous could get away with this, if any other group would try it we would have the rights activists all over our butts.

Give me a break, you can't think of something better to do with your money, than go make a mockery of others misery.

I do think it is in poor taste, and since this country is so into "Political Correctness" and "Peoples feelings being hurt" this goes on without a blink of an eye????? WTH?

perspective
perspective

P.C. police is all over this huh. Leave them alone if you don't like what they are doing. It's a free world. There is a broad spectrum of how people like to spend their hard-earned money, because of personal freedom.  If it offends you, stay away.

SimonSinishtaj
SimonSinishtaj

Why is society so offended by rich people? It's amazing how we look at rich people in this country. Like they're just rotten scumbags. They've done well for themselves and they should enjoy being rich. Having money makes life more easy and enjoyable. It's a cruel world we live in and an unfair one at that. I am far from rich but it's amazing how we care so much on how others spend THEIR money. I'd love to be rich. Anyone who's offended by this needs to reevaluate their life.

iamalargecloud
iamalargecloud

You guys are going to hate me for this.. but I can KIND OF  understand. I can understand both sides, therefore, i do not have an opinion. Hotels are searching for ways to change our lifestyles as well as give well vacations. for example, the treehouse hotel, the hotel purely made of ice,  and the underwater hotel. they're trying to give people opportunities to change their environment around completely. the fact that the wealthy don't think of all the victims around them or even take note of it isn't the hotels fault.. it's the fault of the smug, wealthy, inconsiderate people who live in it. to be honest, i'd love to go to the hotel and live the experience WITHOUT actually starving myself or risk getting any sort of infection. I like comfort. BUT i would definitely visit these locations around me and give as much as i can. it's the change in one's environment that can be exciting

creativetntgal
creativetntgal

Will they be also offering the apartheid experience, where white people can treat blacks unfairly?

AshleyMann
AshleyMann

This is one of those things where I have to look at it and kind of laugh.  If they wanted to have the poor experience, then they should take a look under the bridges that they cross to get there, maybe take a peek under them.  Here's hoping that my millionaire match boyfriend doesn't take me there.  The rich in this case aren't really bad, I just think that they're a bit misguided - it's noble, though misplaced, to want to live how the poor live for identification's sake.  

Skwirrlmaster
Skwirrlmaster

id only do this if I was allowed to murder a poor person at the end and take their belongings...  otherwise this feels like a waste. 

Obbop
Obbop

The Student Revolutionary Strike Force looks askance at well-off folks doing the "slumming" scene.

A day of reckoning will arrive some day and the elites and their lackeys will tremble in abject fear.

HowardCihak
HowardCihak

Here's an idea!  Why not create an AFFORDABLE way for middle-class people to experience for a few days or a week what it's like to live the lifestyle of the uber-rich?

nickjlee
nickjlee

I doubt the tourists are pretending to be poor. It's a theme hotel. I stayed at a safari theme hotel once; I was not pretending to be a hunter during my stay nor did I confuse the plastic lions for the real deal.

RaydioClowers
RaydioClowers

This looks like fun and way to experience what the locals who are poor live like instead of seeing the rich elements of a large town when traveling.

JeremyJohnson
JeremyJohnson

Sniff Sniff...so sad.  Their money, they can do what they want with it.

LutherBarnum
LutherBarnum

Would be great to have someone break into the the "resort and rob them blind. Bring a little realism to them.

lebowski113
lebowski113

Abject poverty is something on the news we flip past quick so we don't need to have an uncomfortable conversation with our kids.  Now some make a tourist attraction and game out of it.  Remember that whole "let them eat cake" line?  They didn't understand what the masses were so upset about.  That will happen on a global scale within a few generations.  I hope we find a way to avoid it, but we're so distracted with Black Friday sales and who's twerking, most of us don't even see it coming.

DavidMcIntosh
DavidMcIntosh

This article hasn't actually sited examples of people staying here or how many, so I'm not going to jump on the bash "rich" people bandwagon. Anyone can come up with a stupid idea. But, since you don't seem to support it yourselves [TIME] it's interesting why you'd cover it. Could you be hoping to turn the plight of the poor into more pageviews for your own [least we forget, very rich] corporation? It's great for this Shanty Resort in either case as your shareholders are their target demographic.

jcluvstrnity
jcluvstrnity

A vacation for the man/woman who has everything... SMH. 

MichaelMcGrew
MichaelMcGrew

I completely disagree.  The luxurious should have to face the realities of 90% of the world, whether they're paying or not.  Would you rather they went on a cruise to costa rica?  They are going to spend their money to vacation either way.  This is way more enlightening than a cult sauna trip or a 'cabin retreat back to nature'.  This is the best use of money I can imagine. 

moss3336
moss3336

I can't believe what I've just read.

wildmanted
wildmanted

sry, that was a technical issue.

I do this all the time and it doesn't get any better.

Literally or illiterately.  However you dice it.  

mkc0124
mkc0124

This is precisely why alien lifeforms do not stop on this pitiful pisshole of a planet.

gaultjohn83
gaultjohn83

No need to go over sea's to gawk at the homeless and destitute..support your local economy with our internet deal. 

A bottle of thunderbird, a 8 year old pair of jean's and a damp cardboard box are included in this one of a kind hobo experience. 

schizophrenic meth addled girlfriend not included.

JamieSpidell
JamieSpidell

Poor is a state of mind. Regardless of your personal situation there is always a way. I come from rags and am still working my way up, but NEVER would I EVER have to live on a street due to MY MOTIVATION to NEVER let it happen again. I care not if your poor and want to play victim. Get off your ass, get to work, and TRY..... Homelessness is 90% laziness. Bottom Line

RonanGarey
RonanGarey

@SimonSinishtaj We live in an interconnected/interdependent society. People who hoard that society's energy instead of properly steward its distribution need to be forced to do so. The Medieval Serf era must not be allowed to return. 

Anyways, rich people should be happy that we're not cutting off their heads right now. The French Revolution can come back with a *snap*.

JasonPalmer
JasonPalmer

@SimonSinishtaj I don't think the disgust is coming purely from being rich. It's the sense of...I don't know what to call it...condescension or patronization of the poor by spending a bunch of money and pretending to tough it out and wear this false badge of honor. "Oh, yeah, I spent some time in a shanty town. I can relate to those suffering people...". Diminishing the the perception of weight on the people who REALLY have to tough it out, concerned whether they can feed their children, not whether they're going to get air conditioning and a wifi signal. 

rigatoniii
rigatoniii

@iamalargecloud Comfort afforded to some but not those actually living under these conditions. How about these hotels and business NOT make money off of the exploitation of the reality of so many in these economic situations? 

It's funny how equate the underwater hotel with that of this shown above; this shanty hotel is a failed attempt of introducing a "change in environment"; it's ignoring the cultural and socio-economical histories connected with environments. It's disrespectful.

nickjlee
nickjlee

"Elite" status is relative. Americans on wellfare with cell phones and cable tv would be considered elite by the tens of millions of starving people around the world.

JessicaAnderson
JessicaAnderson

@JamieSpidell you are ignoramus. being poor doesn't mean you are homeless. and not everyone in this giant world of 7 billion have the opportunities, family fortunes, skills or knowledge, personalities, environment, or people to help them. Some people are just poor and are swimming against a strong current. That doesn't make them lazy. It makes them strong and brave and resilient. And yes I am poor. I struggle every day to be happy with what I have. I see money has made you stupid just like the rest of the capitalist consumerist slaves. 

mkc0124
mkc0124

@JamieSpidell And this article wasn't about "homelessness" so get off your soapbox and go pat yourself on the back on a site more to your suitability.  Allow me to suggest Redstate of Fox where all the other heathens congregate.

mkc0124
mkc0124

@JamieSpidell Oh do shut up.  I guarantee you that you do not know true poverty and never have.

UseYourHead
UseYourHead

Who says that the guests are concocting a "false badge of honor"? I'll tell you who: NOBODY. This is just a sales gimmick for overnight accommodation - one of thousands. The African economies rejoice for this injection of much-needed capital.

PhilBolton
PhilBolton

@nickjlee So what you're saying is, that the richest notion in the world needs to pattern itself after third world countries and let more poor people starve? Aim high brother!

david9999
david9999

@JessicaAnderson @JamieSpidell

Well said, Jessica.  Yes, some poor people are lazy, but many are just swimming against a current that is impossible to get out of, just as you said.  "There but for the grace of God go I" is a phrase that this idiot apparently doesn't appreciate.

I have lived in my vehicle I was so poor, and I have been a millionaire.  In both situations I was the same hard working person. There is a lot of luck involved in life. 

People who are judgmental just disgust me.

DavidMcIntosh
DavidMcIntosh

@PhilBolton I think nickjlee is saying that we shouldn't be so quick to judge "rich" people because we are all considered rich to someone else. Unless none of us are in some way striving for more, we shouldn't condemn those who have more, especially based on an article that seems to draw a lot of conclusions about a whole class of people without even substantiating whether or not these "rich" people actually condone such a resort.