- Small-scale tourism development in Brazilian Amazonia: The creation of a ‘tourist bubble’
- Revista Europea de Estudios Latinoamericanos y del Caribe
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)
In Brazil, tourism is promoted as a means of generating employment, tax revenues, foreign exchange and investments in infrastructure. The Amazon region is thereby primarily marketed as a ‘green’ destination. One such a destination is the village of Alter do Chão in the municipality of Santarém in the state of Pará, where tourism has expanded rapidly during the past decade. Looking at the main characteristics of tourism in the study area and the actors involved, the authors show that the notion of a ‘tourist bubble’, which was developed for large-scale enclave-like resorts, may apply equally to a small-scale destination. First, it is in the sense of abstracting from historical and cultural contexts in relation to the antecedents of the local population and by commercializing the local Sairé festival as ‘staged authenticity’. Second, a ‘tourist bubble’ is emerging as a result of increasing physical and functional segregation of tourism and residential areas. As far as the local population is concerned, the creation of the ‘bubble’ primarily represents new economic opportunities. However, the introduction of ‘invented traditions’ is also easily adopted because it fits in with the ongoing ethnic reclassification process in Brazil among culturally fragmented populations in search for their ‘roots’ and lost rights. The authors conclude that in order to fully understand the complexity and dynamics of cultural and economic transformations following tourism development, it is necessary to also look beyond the ‘tourist bubble’.
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