Magazine article International Trade Forum

Bahia Tourism-Five Stars for Sustainability: The Coconut Coast Project in Bahia, Brazil, Supported by ITC, Provides Consumers with First-Class Quality Tourism and Products, While Achieving First-Class Results for the Local Community

Magazine article International Trade Forum

Bahia Tourism-Five Stars for Sustainability: The Coconut Coast Project in Bahia, Brazil, Supported by ITC, Provides Consumers with First-Class Quality Tourism and Products, While Achieving First-Class Results for the Local Community

Article excerpt

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The fact that tourists who travel to Bahia can access high-quality products and services delivered by renowned resorts such as Costa do Sauipe, Super Club Breezes, Reserva Imbassai, Iberostar, Ecoresort Praia do Forte and Vila Gale Mares Hotel Guarajuba, might be old news.

What makes this worth writing about are the stories hidden behind the facts. The stories of hundreds of the people in the region that have had their lives deeply touched and transformed by such initiatives designed to foster employment, improve salaries, preserve cultural heritage, integrate women, and help the development of small producers.

Everyone knows that when it comes to doing business, poor people can suffer the disadvantages of little or no education and connections to those who can help them expand their business in the formal economy.

The ITC programme links local communities with the value chains of the products and services they can supply. It works with the communities to help them organize themselves locally or regionally to improve skills through training and business assistance. Since its implementation in the region in 2003, more than 2000 jobs were created. The revenue in the community coming from tourism increased 500% and the attendance in the local primary schools increased eight times.

The programme is designed to enable hotels and tourists to jointly contribute to the realization of inclusive tourism. The results have been impressive. On the one hand, the needs of tourists are met more effectively. On the other, the local population benefits directly from the same tourism they once resented.

Inclusive tourism enhances the experience of the guests who find it satisfying to know that the same resorts that offer them international standards of comfort also contribute directly to the development of the local community.

ITC, with the support of several local partners, encourages community involvement in value chains, related both directly and indirectly to tourism. Various developments still under construction will generate more than 20,000 new jobs in the next four years. …

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