In 1999, the destination of Prainha do Canto Verde, in Beberibe (Ceará), Northeast Brazil, was considered for the TO DO! Award, an international award for Responsible Tourism (from Germany). And yes, it shows us the potential of Brazil in Responsible Tourism, especially when taking as a reference such a model of destination.
“It’s an example of Responsible Tourism because, besides the luxuriant beauty of the place, it gathers many values and principles that strengthen the relation between society, culture and nature, along with environmental justice. It’s a community valuing the local culture, the territory protection and traditional fishing, despite many challenges. A community discussing and planning its development, the management of the activities, the touristic structures and services proposed”, explains Maria Aparecida de Alcântara, Executive of the Tucum Network, Coordinator of Social Projects, Sustainable and Community-based Tourism, popular Educator and Member of the Caiçara Human Promotion Association.
Prainha is part of the Rede Cearense de Turismo Comunitário (Rede Tucum) – an entity composed of communities from the coastal area, since 2008, executing the community-based tourism of Ceará. Such a union, in network, made this destination an example in many ways:
– There is a diversified cooking culture with flavors of the land and local products,
– It prioritizes the care and preservation of the environment,
– It values fishermen and traditional fishing,
– It helps foster agriculture,
– It strengthens female and youth empowerment and the autonomy of the locals.
Prainha has a strong history related to the tension of the fishing community regarding community initiatives on the territory, and because of the creation of an Extractive Reserve in 2009. The objective of the area is to protect the livelihood, culture and to ensure the use and the conservation of its natural renewable resources, traditionally used by the extractive population of the community of Prainha, residents in the scope of the Reserve and other local people of adjacent area.
The award goes to Prainha in 1999
René Schärer, former civil aviation executive at Swissair, moved to Brazil in 1992 to work as a volunteer in the community of Prainha do Canto Verde for the sustainable development of traditional fishing. He was one of the co-founders of the Instituto Terramar NGO and collaborated in the creation of the Tucum Network.
According to René: “When Prainha do Canto Verde was rewarded as one of the pioneer communities of tourism in Brazil and the ‘Studienkreis für Tourismus und Entwicklung’, in Germany, found this new experience quite interesting, and also saw its potential as an example for other communities on the coast of the Ceará, the country of Brazil and the also the world”.
Almost 20 years later, the results are still being harvested, ever more prosperous and better developed as time goes by. The “TO DO! Award” gave the community more visibility, international highlight, and made it a model and reference in community-based tourism, emphasizing the Project importance and giving opportunity for strategic tours to happen.
19 years later, a new brazilian finalist in responsible tourism
This year, Raízes was counted as one of the finalists of this international award for its work among traditional communities, empowerment and self-governance. Especially for the community-based tourism and income generation projects in the Valley of Jequitinhonha, in Minas Gerais, which generated very strong results and transformations in the life of women in vulnerable situations. A true story and example of how to erase frontiers and stigmas.
And for you, reader, are there any other destinations in which you can see similar potential?