Poorism

Bangkok’s Lebua hotel, which is organizing the dinner, is no stranger to publicity – or to Michelin-starred chefs. Last year, it put on a decadent feast billed as the meal of a lifetime for $25,000 a head. Six three-star Michelin chefs were flown in from Europe to cook the 10-course meal, each plate paired with a rare vintage wine.

On April 5, the Lebua is offering another 10-course spread, this time for free. The hotel has invited 50 of its biggest-spending customers to the dinner prepared – it hopes – by three top-ranked Michelin-starred chefs.

There is one twist. Before dinner, guests will be jetted to a poor village in northern Thailand to spend the afternoon soaking up the sights of poverty. The dinner and full-day excursion will cost the hotel $300,000.

Too bad that they’re not going to Cambodia because at least then I could recommend them a village that would be poor enough to make them lose any vestiges of their appetite. It’s going to be interesting to see which 3-star chefs can be bought for (reportedly) $8000 for a few hours work. From IHT’s Luxury Bangkok hotel combines lavish meal with ‘poverty tour’.

9 Comments Poorism

  1. Robyn

    There’s been a lot of recent press on ‘poverty tours’ (isn’t it weird the way media will latch on to a topic and do it to death? I was taught -wrongly? – that the first thing you should do, as a pitching writer, is read back issues and never pitch a story that’s been done within, say, the last two years).
    I recently read something on touring a slum in Mumbai or some such. The author went in feeling like a creepy voyeur but came out feeling that he’d ‘connected’ with people he never would have met in a neighborhood he never would have ventured to. I don’t know what to think about it. On the one hand it’s distasteful. On the other, I know that many travelers wouldn’t wander places I or you might, and have a more narrow view of the places they visit as a result. Are tours that open eyes to the reality of places like Mumbai, that are enjoying otherwise sort of ‘glam’ coverage in recent travel press, a good thing?

    Reply
  2. Maytel

    I guess it depends. With all the press its getting lately I have been wondering whether I should set up a “tour of the concerned” to Bangkok’s sex tourism sites so other concerned feminists can wander around and be horrified by the debauchery that is Sukhumvit Soi 2, or is tourism of sex tourism going too far. Personally I would like to observe the filthy rich visit a poor village and examine their responses. Tourism of Poorism if you will. Poorism maybe unethical but I sure do find it interesting, obviously others do too…thus the media overkill

    Reply
  3. Phil Lees

    It is this event that…

    Alain Solivérès, whose famed Taillevent in Paris has two Michelin stars, Jean-Michel Lorain of the three-star La Côte Saint Jacques in Burgundy and Michel Trama from the three-star Les Loges de L’Aubergade in southwest France.

    …all pulled out from

    The Mumbai article you’re thinking about might be this poorism article from the Smithsonian mag that seemed to kick this whole thing off.

    I find the trend incredibly fascinating (when I’m not finding it morally repugnant). I’d love to know if touring poor places does actually increase the tourists’ chance of taking action or not; or whether people feel that by touring a poor place, that they have made it better solely by the virtue of them being there.

    While I was in Cambodia, I had a hand in organising tours for donors out to some of the sites where my organisation worked: Half day visiting people about to die (“monitoring and evaluation”)/half day touring Angkor Wat. The filthy rich people tend to either cry a lot or be too scared to leave the Landcruiser.

    At least they do when I was doing my job well.

    Maytel – I’ve been wracking my brain today as to whether I could think of an example of metatourism: where you go on holidays to see other people going on holidays. I can’t think of a decent one, apart from people-watching at airports.

    Reply
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  5. eera

    Howcome no one ever thinks of taking the poor on holiday to see how the rich live?If poverty can be so frighteneing for some, the utter wastefulness of how the rich live can be a real eye opener too , one that willmake the poor understand why the Earth is suffering environmentally and atleast make them feel good about the fact that they are not responsible for it .

    Reply
  6. lia

    I think at least the rich would have learnt some compassion from this whole experience.

    that way the whole point of the excersice i think!

    Reply
  7. james

    This is crazy?, Is there a adobt a person (black) and now it’s ok. dam How we have changed! Try the sowtfhside of your town! Same Color, Different Flavor! Why go elsewere whwe here is he problem? Next!

    Reply
  8. Pingback: Slumdog Millionaires and Poorism « Written on the Wind

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