Brazil’s Bombinhas Learns About Itself

? Destination Stewardship Report – Vol. 3, No. 1 – Summer 2022 ?

Another winner from the Top 100 – Every year, Green Destinations organizes the Top 100 Destination Sustainability Stories competition, which invites submissions from around the world – a vetted collection of stories spotlighting local and regional destinations that are making progress toward sustainable management of tourism and its impacts. This entry, from the winners announced last year, showcases how a Brazilian community needed to rediscover itself in the face of growing popularity – and did. Synopsis by Supriya A. N.

A tour group visits a local church to learn about the customs and traditions that contribute to Bombinhas’ cultural identity. [Photo courtesy of Green Destinations]

Top 100 submission by Keli Regina Benvegnú, Discovering Bombinhas.

Bolstering the Identity of Bombinhas with Formal Training through Active Community Participation

Brazil’s coastal city of Bombinhas is a rising tourism destination, attracting close to 1.5 million visitors during its peak season of November to April.

The continuous influx of seasonal employees, entrepreneurs, and new residents has led to a blurred understanding of the city’s history, culture, natural attractions, customs, and traditions. The absence of an authentic source of information and the lack of knowledge-sharing has resulted in locals and tourism sector employees being unaware of the city’s history, which affects its identity.

To address this issue, Setur (Municipal Tourism and Economic Development Office) developed a training course about the city for both employees in the tourism sector and locals. Delivered by Discovering Bombinhas, the 12-hour training course is taught by graduates specializing in tourism, creatively known as Tourismologists. Divided into two sections, the course consists of a theoretical class followed by a tour of the city.

Importantly, the collective participation of locals and public-private partnerships is the highlight of this initiative. This can be seen throughout the two-day course:

  • Tourismologists develop a booklet containing historical facts and general information with assistance from public servants in the areas of Environment and Culture
  • A community resident, who is recognized as Master of Culture in local gastronomy and family agriculture, shares their knowledge and life history with students
  • Tourismologists lead students on a free city tour, made possible by partnerships with local tourist agencies

    Museum visits teach students about the culture and history of their destination.  [Photo courtesy of Green Destinations]

  • Visits to museums, historical squares, fishing reserves, art workshops, and boat trips are included at no extra cost, thanks to warm-hearted locals willing to share their stories for the benefit of the city

This course sets an example of how a community can come together to address a common problem of safeguarding and nurturing its identity through collective participation without any reliance on valuable public funds. Find the complete Good Practice Story (PDF) from Bombinhas city, Brazil.

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