Sex tourism the escapade of a different kind

Sex tourism the escapade of a different kind. Picture: Pexels

Sex tourism the escapade of a different kind. Picture: Pexels

Published Nov 11, 2023


TANZANIA’S semi-autonomous island, Zanzibar, with its idyllic and clean beaches, has become synonymous with a growing form of tourism – sex tourism.

In Kenya, young men who ply their trade in the country’s vast coastlines this fashion are known as the “beach boys”.

Zanzibar is said to be an ideal spot for European women travellers who crave more than a holiday in their tourism itinerary.

Sitinga Kachipande, in the latest Journal of Global South Studies titled: sex tourism Africa globalization tourism political economy, reveals that despite the increasing visibility of sex in Africa’s tourism industry, the continent is typically neglected in global narratives about sex tourism.

This is because, according to Kachipende, the “quintessential image of sex tourism is that of Global North tourists travelling to “exotic” locations in the Global South such as East Asia, Latin America, or the Caribbean.

However, over the years the continent has been getting its fair share of attracting sex tourists in their numbers.

In a recent article, columnist and researcher, Tatenda Gwaambuka indicates that it is the African men’s sexual prowess that has made European women flock the continent to bask in more than the hot African sun.

“When they come, they are served, serviced and pampered. Older women from Europe and North America are now known to frequent African resorts in pursuit of ‘sexcapades’ as they are called.

However, Tatenda, who interviewed a Canadian woman, reports also that the romanticism of sexual tourism has enough of its fair share of danger and exploitative elements as numerous reports also reveal that these moneyed women from abroad punish their flings when they fail to rise to the proverbial occasion.

“If he doesn’t perform, he doesn’t get to eat. End of story,” a female sex tourist is quoted as saying.

According to Tatenda, two older women who visited Kenya for their fix found the country to be “full of big young boys who like us older girls.”

Jake Grieves-Cook, then chairman of the Kenya Tourist Board indicated that in their culture, sex-tourism is, “not evil but it’s certainly something we frown upon.”

Legal and ethical challenges

Sex tourism is commonly regarded as a transnational challenge, as it can be seen to target marginalised demographics in developing nations, such as Brazil or South East Asian countries.

The chief ethical concerns of this transactional arrangement seems to arise from the economic gap between tourists and residents, the sexual trafficking of children and women and the parties taking advantage of the ability to engage with minors.

According to reports, sex tourism is slowly becoming a multibillion-dollar industry that globally supports a workforce estimated in the millions, with service industries, such as the airline, taxi, restaurant and hotel industries, profiting.

A number of countries have become popular destinations for sex tourism. These include Brazil, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, the Philippines, the Netherlands (particularly Amsterdam), Kenya, Colombia, Thailand, Cambodia, Cuba, and Indonesia (particularly Bali) as well as Gambia, Senegal, Kenya and Tanzania.

This week, according to the Manila Times, Philippine Bureau of Immigration chief Norman Tansingco has expressed his alarm over the resurgence of sex tourism in the Philippines, amid a noticeable increase in the arrest of sex offenders attempting to enter the country.

According to the Philippine Immigration Act of 1940, those who have been convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude, which includes sex offenders, are not allowed to enter the country.

Saturday Star