Conscious Tourism

The turism sector is nowadays one of the major industries in the world. However traditional development of a touristic destination takes it to natural resources exhaustion, cultural heritage decharacterization and social fabric destructuration.
The activity of Projeto Turismo Consciente is to promote trips to Amazon and Brazilian communities that have a sustainable tourism approach. We aim to provide to visitors the opportunity to live together with local residents for some days and also to impulse conscious tourism in the region. The goal is to generate income, jobs and life quality through the tourism activity, recognizing local culture value and rescuing its traditions. Lodging, catering and tours are offered by residents. Our proposal is spontaneous exchange, in a diversity environment. To be locally approved and to elaborate projects we have the principle of having assemblies with community members.

tu idea

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Street Address

Rua Girassol, 964

City

São Paulo

Estado/Provincia

SP

Postal/Zip Code

Country

Brasil

Year innovation began

2007

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Geotourism Challenge Addressed by Entrant

Quality of benefit to the people of the desitination

Indicate sector in which you principally work

Community Organization

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Main barrier addressed

Lack of local input

Main insight addressed

Incorporate sustainable practices

Geographic location

Rural, Suburban, Multiple locations.

Nombre de tu proyecto

Conscious Tourism

Describe Your Idea

The turism sector is nowadays one of the major industries in the world. However traditional development of a touristic destination takes it to natural resources exhaustion, cultural heritage decharacterization and social fabric destructuration.
The activity of Projeto Turismo Consciente is to promote trips to Amazon and Brazilian communities that have a sustainable tourism approach. We aim to provide to visitors the opportunity to live together with local residents for some days and also to impulse conscious tourism in the region. The goal is to generate income, jobs and life quality through the tourism activity, recognizing local culture value and rescuing its traditions. Lodging, catering and tours are offered by residents. Our proposal is spontaneous exchange, in a diversity environment. To be locally approved and to elaborate projects we have the principle of having assemblies with community members.

Innovación

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What is the goal of your innovation?

To design and commercialize itineraries in Brazilian communities aiming to generate income and to strengthen traditions and culture.

How does your approach support or embody geotourism?

Communities selected by Projeto Turismo Conciente (Conscious Tourism Project) are either communities targeted by traditional tourism what can cause environmental degradation and changes on local culture; or communities that not having a sustainable alternative are susceptible to environmental exploitation. These communities are “ecological treasures” with a local population that maintain a life routine full of ancestral culture and tradition. If the tourism to be developed in these communities does not have as its objective to preserve and empower local agents there will be the risk of losing knowledge, as for example, in man-nature interaction or losing some traditions from Brazilians communities. If there is no sustainable option in these places, some enterprises can displace these populations or develop economies that do not benefit them and that destroy the environment. Local people are local guides, hosts and receptive. Turismo Consciente (Aware Tourism) aims to give to communities alternatives of work and income generation without transforming their routines. The guest lodges, eats and walks around with local inhabitants. It is a work option for young that nowadays are leaving their original community oftener and oftener. We aim to respect and recognize the value of the locality as well as to contribute with the region, through conscious tourism.

Describe your approach in detail. How is it innovative?

Conscious tourism means also respecting artistic, archeological, environmental and cultural heritage from the visited place. That means: the visitor seeks for sharing experiences without imposing its costumes and does not demand privileges or practices that can cause negative impacts. The tourist follows some basic principles in its operations such as causing the minimum environmental impact that is possible, recognize the value of local culture and local work force and defines their activities by natural resources economy. It is an option socially and environmentally correct that brings benefits to the hosts and visitors, allowing a bigger integration between the two parts in a respectful manner. The packages holiday available in market, especially that for Amazon region, do not benefit inhabitants and do not bring a close view on local reality to visitors. Our proposal is to interact with inhabitants, recognizing their value and giving incentive to professional qualification of local agents. They are working as collaborators and professional of the tourist structure and make the tourism perennial. Their houses, food, music, dance and work have theirs value recognized and preserved what raises community’s self esteem. The existent innovation is investing in local population that in most tourism interventions other professionals are hired to work in their environment what generates low value recognition and discomfort among all parts.

What types of partnerships or professional development would be most beneficial in spreading your innovation?

To enable Turismo Consciente it is necessary a network of partner and collaborators.
At first the product has to be “purchasable”, what means that the professional development of involved agents is essential. Catering services, accommodation, guides, all that can not be inadequately qualified. Publicity and commercialization are also as essential as the other areas, because it is impossible to take tourists to places if they are not aware that these places can be visited. The product has to be attractive for tourist agents to sell. Others parts of structure as finances, management, administration are necessary as in any other business.

Impacto

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In one sentence describe what kind of impact, change, or reform your approach is intended to achieve.

To recognize the value and rescue Brazilian traditions and cultures, to build a sustainable business alternative and to widen cultural repertoire of tourists.

Describe the degree of success of your approach to date. Clearly define how you measure quantitative and qualitative impact in terms of how your approach contributes to the sustainability or enhancement of local culture, environment, heritage, or aesthetics? How does your approach minimize negative impacts? 200 words or less

The name of the itinerary we have elaborated is VEM –Viagem Encontrando Marajó (Travel meeting Marajó). The selected place is Vila do Pesqueiro (Fishing Village), Praia do Pesqueiro (Fishing Beach) in Marajó Island. The beach has this name because of the traditional fishing activity of the village inhabitants. Due to the easy access and its natural beauties, this beach is considered the most famous by tourists. With restaurants and small cabins, local population from Soure and surroundings use to go there on weekends and in high season. There is no lodging structure so tourist agents take their clients to spend just part of a day there. Some have a meal in a restaurant but most of them take their own food. After a SEBRAE training for the inhabitants we developed some tourist products to offer. Today there is 5 houses prepared to receive guests for spend the night, a group of women developed the gastronomy and young people guide tours. When a tourist arrives in the village they know how to price service, how to charge it and what to offer, therefore giving incentive to residents to stay in their community instead of leaving for big centers to look for jobs.We are looking for other projects in Brazil with the same approach to be commercialized along with VEM.

How does your program promote traveler enthusiasm, satisfaction, and engagement with the locale?

This proposed itinerary is almost unique in market. There is no other package holiday to Marajó Island, in Amazon, that allows the tourist to be lodged in a house from a traditional community family, to live the marajoara quotidian and ,if someone does not want to stay on the beach, to rest and walk around. The program is not imposed and it has flexibility, so tourists can choose the activity they identify with the most. Hotels and lodges are all in town and guides from convention holiday packages are all from Belem, so they are not intimate to the place.

Describe how your innovation helps travelers and local residents better understand the value of the area’s cultural and natural heritage, and educates them on local environmental issues. How do you motivate them to act responsibly in their future travel decisions?

VEM project is completely based on marajoara culture. We develop tours that happen within inhabitants’ routine. As an example: for someone from the community to sell any product, tour, meal, it has to be the most traditional. The Vila do Pesqueiro inhabitants notice that tourists are interested in know better local culture, this is why they went there, what reflects a cultural recognition of value for marajoaras. Tourists that experience a travel that contributes to the locality and to widen theirs cultural repertoire start to have other choice criteria to travel and are waiting for new itineraries from Turismo Consciente.

In what ways are local residents actively involved in your innovation, including participation and community input? How has the community responded to or benefited from your approach?

The project aims to contribute with local community generating income and recognizing their value. We have as a principle to make decision together with the village inhabitants that are engaged in the project. All services provided are fully checked and several times they received tourists that are not sent by Turismo Consciente. However we avoid generating to much expectation, as the number of tourists is still small and publicity work for this itinerary depends on tourist agents. Everybody works on the project in what they know and is familiar with, as fisherman, crab catchers, cooks, craftsman…

Esta presentación se trata de

Sostenibilidad

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Is your initiative financially and organizationally sustainable? If not, what is required to make it so? What is the potential demand for your innovation?

To my initiative become sustainable it is necessary to develop more itineraries and commercialize others that have an ideological affinity with us. As there is few packages sold I have to work in other things to sustain myself, however each time I dedicate myself less to the project, it becomes less viable. I look for some support, sponsors and financiers that want to invest in the project and therefore I will be able to dedicate myself and make it sustainable. Set a team to structure it, sell more travels, establish partnerships with tourist agents from abroad and make the idea viable.

How is your initiative currently financed? If available, provide information on your finances and organization that could help others. Please list: Annual budget, annual revenue generated, size of part-time, full-time and volunteer staff.

My initiative is not financed yet. It is a built idea. Last year there was a pilot trip that was very successful and this year I started to contact other destinations to sell too and maintain the company. This year VEM itinerary will also be presented to tourist agents so they can commercialize it. Today it has two consultants and I am looking for a team to work as commissioned sellers.

What is your plan to expand your approach? Please indicate where/how you would like to grow or enhance your innovation, or have others do so.

I would like to replicate it in other Amazon communities. Along to residents’ associations and institutions that work in the place. As example, in communities that Instituto Peabiru works - the founder is a VEM consultant and he wants to work in partnership. I also intend to sell holiday packages with similar purposes, as community lodges or social projects in São Paulo. In São Paulo periphery, Vento em Popa project has taught young to sail and these young will teach tourists to sail. I seek for replicating and associating to those with sustainable principles as Turismo Consciente.

What are the main barriers you encounter in managing, implementing, or replicating your innovation? What barriers keep your program from having greater impact?

The main barriers that I face are related to itinerary commercialization. Communities are willing to implant sustainable tourism program. For that it is obviously necessary to qualify the involved agents, design tours, responsible groups, however to develop that is easy for me. Itinerary commercialization depends on tourism agents interested in selling them, depends on investment to take some people to know it, as journalists and opinion makers, besides tourism companies staff. It is also necessary to constitute a company suited to tourism sector rules and obtain the necessary licenses. A minimum team to enable this project is also important. All that depends on investment and fundraising, which the project does not have yet. There are few public programs that contemplate sustainable tourism projects in traditional communities.

La historia

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Please provide a personal bio. Note this may be used in Changemakers' marketing material.

I started as the only employee of an aromatherapy company, where I acquired plenty of experience on production and logistics. Simultaneously, I worked as volunteer in South São Paulo performing recreational activities with kids. In 2000, along with two other people, I idealized Expedição Vaga Lume, aiming to give access to book and reading through structuring community libraries in Amazon. Up to 2006 I was Director of Production and Logistics of this association and I also acted as educator in communities and as press assessor. More than 100 communities were benefited by this project. In 2007 I started to design Turismo Consciente (Conscious Tourism).

What is the origin of your innovation? Tell your story.

I have known Amazon since I was one year old. My family had enterprises in the region. I have always loved people, culture and tradition from Amazon. All my life I had very clear the desire to work on third sector and contribute to Amazon. My most important personal investment in the region was to conceive and implant a project that gave rural communities in Amazon access to books and reading through making child libraries. There was more than 30 library hubs multiplied in the 9 states of Brazilian Legal Amazon. Together with two other people I created Associação Vaga Lume that since 2001 invests in people and education in Amazon.
I made my dream to contribute to remote communities come true and I learned a lot as human being. I use to take the knowledge I acquired in these traditional communities to my work and I realized the importance of working in network. Several supports were received to make this project possible, from the Brazilian Air Force, Municipal Education Secretariats, Local Associations, to community leaders, cooks and drivers. The project received a lot of publicity from Brazilian press and I realized the importance of “amazonizar” (make Amazonic) Brazilians. I believe that after several meetings, events, seminars and press publicity these two regions (Amazon and São Paulo) are closer and now they know and respect each other better and were demystified by several Brazilians. Knowing more and more the North region I notice the existent tourist potential and how much it is modestly, and badly, explored. On the other hand I noticed the desire of many travelers to visit Amazon, to know its people, its stories and its natural beauty. Therefore I started to develop the idea of Turismo Consciente with Vila to Pesqueiro community, in Marajó, Pará.
As I researched, read and talked to people in the sector, I found that in some Brazilian places there is this kind of initiative and it works well. I was even more motivated and that took me to design VEM itinerary and to look for partners to widen the offer of conscious tourism and start to invest in this dream.

Please write an overview of your project. This text will appear when people scroll over the icon for your entry on the Google map located on the competition homepage.

The turism sector is nowadays one of the major industries in the world. However traditional development of a touristic destination takes it to natural resources exhaustion, cultural heritage decharacterization and social fabric destructuration.
The activity of Projeto Turismo Consciente is to promote trips to Amazon and Brazilian communities that have a sustainable tourism approach. We aim to provide to visitors the opportunity to live together with local residents for some days and also to impulse conscious tourism in the region. The goal is to generate income, jobs and life quality through the tourism activity, recognizing local culture value and rescuing its traditions. Lodging, catering and tours are offered by residents. Our proposal is spontaneous exchange, in a diversity environment. To be locally approved and to elaborate projects we have the principle of having assemblies with community members.

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