Backpacker tourism in the Brazilian Amazon: opportunities and challenges

Rodrigues, Cristina Bittar (2013) Backpacker tourism in the Brazilian Amazon: opportunities and challenges. PhD thesis, James Cook University.

[img]
Preview
PDF (Thesis)
Download (9MB) | Preview
 
151


Abstract

The Amazon rainforest has international appeal but Brazil has been unable to exploit its full potential in terms of tourism development opportunities. As one response to this challenge, this research explores the potential for further development of backpacker tourism in the Brazilian Amazon region by identifying factors, which contribute to its development in that region.

The research analyses a case study in the Brazilian Amazon, which is in a peripheral area in Brazil for most of overseas and domestic tourists, as it exhibits characteristics including high travel cost, low level of accessibility and limited tourism infrastructure and services. To address the issues identified, the research adopted mixed methods using both qualitative and quantitative research methodology, including content analysis, semi-structured interviews, a focus group, on-site observation and survey. The data collection for this study was conducted in the Brazilian Amazon during the tourism high season (from December 2010 to April 2011). This time frame included the local school and university holiday period, Christmas New Year and the Brazilian Carnival period (the month of February), which is a high visitation period in Brazil.

Currently, tourism in the Brazilian Amazon region is focused on luxury jungle lodges, fishing tourism, business tourism, gastronomy and cultural tourism. The study revealed an obvious potential for further development of the backpacker sector, but the lack of engagement by the public sector has been a major inhibitor. The Brazilian Amazon region has sufficient attractions that with effective development and marketing could be elevated to iconic status.

While the public sector has largely ignored the backpacker sector it does recognize that the latter can play an important role in promoting economic and social development in the Brazilian Amazon region, especially in local river communities. However, although there is scope to expand this sector, it will require additional assistance from the government commencing with the inclusion of backpacking in the list of key tourism markets.

The research developed two models. The first outlines a logical and transparent process that enables communities and external agencies to move from a point where the potential for a community-based tourism project is first recognised through to a point where the project is able to come on stream, with the option for the community and sponsors to abort the process if it does not appear likely to achieve the objectives the community and sponsors seek. The second is a logical test of the push and pull model, showing how government and the local community need to be factored in. Both of these components need to come together for backpacker tourism to flourish in developing countries. This demonstrates the importance of synergy between components, which is not evident in developing countries.

Backpackers have the motives to travel to the Brazilian Amazon, but this destination has not developed a sufficient number of pull factors to attract them, mainly because the industry is divided and the government has not given emphasis to the sector. Thus, backpacker tourism is neglected in the Brazilian Amazon, because the organizations involved with tourism have not done enough to develop the pull factors that draw the backpackers and hence expand the market in this region.

Moreover, backpacker tourism has the potential to enhance the quality of life of local river communities in the Brazilian Amazon, and the study presents two cases of local communities that have gained social and economic benefits from it. So while there is scope for promoting local economic development in the Brazilian Amazon region, there is a need to change the attitude of public and private stakeholders towards the worth of backpacking as a sector that offers significant opportunities.

Item ID: 1396
Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Amazon; backpackers; Brazil; Brazilian Amazon; challenges; economic benefits; economic development; opportunities; river communities; tourism; tourists
Related URLs:
Additional Information:

Publications arising from this thesis are available from the Related URLs field. The publications are:

Botterill, David, Pointing, Shane, Hayes-Jonkers, Charmaine, Jones, Trevor, Rodriguez, Cristina, and Clough, Alan (2014) 'What makes violence in backpacker tourism possible? A critical realist study of tourism and the governance of security. In: Andrews, Hazel, (ed.) Tourism and Violence. Ashgate, London, pp. 187-210.

Botterill, David, Pointing, Shane, Hayes-Jonkers, Charmaine, Clough, Alan, Jones, Trevor, and Rodriguez, Cristina (2013) Violence, backpackers, security and critical realism. Annals of Tourism Research, 42. pp. 311-333.

Rodrigues, Cristina, and Prideaux, Bruce (2014) Developing backpacker tourism in the Brazilian Amazon rainforest: adding value to the forest. In: Prideaux, Bruce, (ed.) Rainforest Tourism, Conservation and Management: challenges for sustainable development. Routledge, New York, NY, USA, pp. 163-176.

Rodrigues, Cristina, and Prideaux, Bruce (2012) Backpacker tourism in the Brazilian Amazon: challenges and opportunities. In: Lohmann, Gui, and Dredge, Dianne, (eds.) Tourism in Brazil: environment, management and segments. Contemporary Geographies of Leisure, Tourism and Mobility . Taylor & Francis, Abingdon, Oxon, UK, pp. 123-140.

Rodrigues, Cristina, and Prideaux, Bruce (2012) Community based tourism in Maraj Island - Brazil: achieving a success story. In: Proceedings of the 22nd Annual Conference of the Council for Australasian Tourism and Hospitality Education (CAUTHE) (2), pp. 523-536. From: CAUTHE 2012: the new golden age of tourism and hospitality, 6-9 February 2012, Melbourne, VIC, Australia.

Date Deposited: 05 Aug 2015 06:07
FoR Codes: 15 COMMERCE, MANAGEMENT, TOURISM AND SERVICES > 1506 Tourism > 150601 Impacts of Tourism @ 34%
15 COMMERCE, MANAGEMENT, TOURISM AND SERVICES > 1506 Tourism > 150603 Tourism Management @ 33%
15 COMMERCE, MANAGEMENT, TOURISM AND SERVICES > 1506 Tourism > 150604 Tourism Marketing @ 33%
SEO Codes: 90 COMMERCIAL SERVICES AND TOURISM > 9003 Tourism > 900302 Socio-Cultural Issues in Tourism @ 34%
90 COMMERCIAL SERVICES AND TOURISM > 9003 Tourism > 900303 Tourism Infrastructure Development @ 33%
90 COMMERCIAL SERVICES AND TOURISM > 9003 Tourism > 900399 Tourism not elsewhere classified @ 33%
Downloads: Total: 151
Last 12 Months: 5
More Statistics

Actions (Repository Staff Only)

Item Control Page Item Control Page