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is Uakari Lodge considered Community-Based Tourism?

If on one side there is "traditional tourism" with its negative eco-social impacts, on the other there is Uakari Lodge, with Community-Based Tourism and local knowledge as a protagonist in the conservation of the Amazon.

Uakari Lodge staff smiling and waving

Foto: Gui Gomes.

Unfortunately, there is tourism combined with large enterprises that profit from segregation, precarious work and deforestation - the so-called “traditional” tourism, which has nothing to do with the traditional culture of exchange & care.

Susy Simonetti, Professor of the Tourism Course at University of the State of Amazonas (in portuguese: Universidade do Estado do Amazonas), says that Community-Based Tourism emerges as an alternative to traditional tourism, by promoting intercultural encounters between guests and visitors. Here the priority goes beyond economic benefits: the socio-cultural development of communities and environmental conservation.

Community-Based Tourism (TBC) is about the local community being the protagonist of the experience, being a form of tourism management, in which social participation happens both through its self-management and governance and through the incorporation of the communities' know-how in the organization of tourist activity on site. They use as precepts the appreciation of culture, socio-environmental responsibility, protection of cultural and natural heritage, providing income generation and quality tourist visitation for visitors and those visited.

Widely used to reduce the negative impacts of tourist activity in regions of socio-environmental vulnerability, considering that TBC is thought of as an alternative to traditional tourism arising from the need to transform the segment into a tool that generates collective benefits for the receiving communities, says Susy..

naturalist guide paddling the canoe in a Uakari Lodge experience

Foto: Gui Gomes.

With the sensitivity of understanding that local communities are fundamental players in the game of conservation (or not) of the natural environment and native culture, in 1998 one of the pioneering projects in Brazil in Community-Based Tourism began called Uakari Lodge, an alternative income for communities in a region of the Mamirauá Reserve.

Uakari Lodge is a line of action of the Community-Based Tourism Program of the Mamirauá Institute for Sustainable Development, administered through shared management between the Mamirauá Institute and the communities of the Mamirauá Reserve - AAGEMAM (Association of Ecotourism Assistants and Guides do Mamirauá), was created by the residents themselves in order to organize tourism management and strengthen community organization.

Over here, the majority of people who make up the team are from riverside communities, from management to local guides, maids, cooks, assistants and caretakers, working on a rotation system, each person works an average of 10 days a month and then Come back home. The objective is that there is no dependence on tourism and they can continue carrying out their traditional activities.

Uakri Lodge employee observing the Amazon landscape

Foto: Sherolin Santos.

“Social actors engage in various actions that promote empowerment and strengthen bonds of solidarity and cooperation, with a view to generating income, work and well-being through tourism, and these are basic elements of sustainable tourism for communities. “
Susy Simonetti.

The structure of the inn is also designed in a sustainable way: the energy is of solar origin. Rainwater is collected and stored and effluents are treated before returning to the river. The tiles are ecological, made from recycled plastic from pet bottles.

Remembering that Uakari Lodge does not interfere with the behavior of any animal species in RDS Mamirauá, for observation purposes - which has made the lodge the winner of national and international awards that recognize its efforts in transforming tourism into an activity to conserve local biodiversity.

We use as a reference a cycle that is always renewed: the focus is to work on the autonomy of communities in managing the activity, generating employment and income, boosting local governance and contributing to the conservation of natural resources.

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