Brazil stands out as an affluent country in latin America.
Despite deep social inequalities, the country enjoys a strong growth rate.
Tourism is developed, facilities are functional, guides who have undergone quality training are often fluent in three languages and usually well paid.
Rio de Janeiro’s favelas
While passing through Rio, we encourage our clients to include in their programme, beyond the usual visits (Corcovado, Sugarloaf Mountain…), a guided tour of Rio’s favelas.
This visit is organised by a small company who is pioneering the field : Favela Tour offers to go beyond the usual representations of the favelas by highlighting its inhabitants by underlining the full reality of their neighbourhoods (poverty, violence and trafficking but also labour, education and social life).
Through its action, Favela Tours creates local jobs (guides, transporters…)
A significant amount of its proceeds are then shared back with communities, through funding of development or social projects.
In 2019, this contribution amounted to more than 20.000 USD.
Developing the touristic offer in isolated regions
Our trip proposals are as much as possible oriented towards less visited regions, on the margins of mass tourism (Lençois, Maranhenses, Chapada Diamantina, ecology reserves of Bocaina and Mamangua).
On one hand, to enable our clients live a unique experience, on the other, to put into practice our will to encourage development through tourism.
An example: ecology reserves of Joatinga and Mamangua, close to Paraty.
There, one can find a dozen “caiçaras” communities, cultural groups from a region with no roads or electric grid.
These groups, which rely on fishing, are negatively impacted by the classification of their land into ecology reserves : ban on tree cutting, important decrease in authorised agricultural areas, hunting prohibition, construction ban.
With the intensification in the last decade of offshore industrial fishing and its negative consequences on coastal fish volume, revenue generated by fishing decreases from year to year.
Therefore, not more than ten years ago, community inhabitants could live relatively comfortably from fishing and agriculture, two ressources which today are strongly limited or even compromised.
The perpetuation of their lifestyle is threatened. Young people unwillingly join the ranks of cheap labour in large cities, enabling real estate investors who know how to avoid environmental laws to step in.
The situation is however far from being hopeless and ecotourism represents a genuine alternative solution, if properly implemented.
Since 2005, we actively participate in the touristic development of a few villages (Ponta Negra, Sono, Cajaiba) by creating trek itineraries and by taking through them hiking groups which consume locally, from beds, to meals and guide services.
Developing ecotourism concerned with promoting local culture while respecting the environment translates into several phenomena which are already obvious
- creating a supplementary revenue stream
- improving welcome facilities
- training of young people into new skills (languages, moderation, cooking, first aid, flora and fauna…)
- exchanges between foreigners and Brazilians
After the success of the first seasons, we notice today there exists a double imbalance.
Tourism is concentrated in a short period every year. It is at its highest, uninterrupted, in July and August.
The rest of the year, it remains weak.
It would be beneficial for touristic influx to be more balanced in that zone, yet this is a hard to achieve goal given the structure of that influx (European tourism which corresponds to summer holidays in July and August).
Profits generated from tourism are still only enjoyed by a limited number of people, often linked by family ties. Admittedly, these families are the most active, entrepreneurial and deserving. But this creates tensions and jealousy in a community who is hard to get involved in its entirety.
Concertation work with communities and local actors is an ongoing process, in order to define common goals and the means necessary to reach them.