World Heritage sites in Brazil: a report

March 23, 2007 | By More

The AdventureTravelLogue reported last November that the National Geographic and the George Washington University had conducted a third study on the situation of some of Unesco World Heritage sites.

Three Brazilian sites were assessed in the report:

Iguazu Falls, (shared with Argentina) received a score of 61 out of 100, indicating mixed reviews, positive and negative aspects combined together. The comments in the report were:

“A small island of preserved rain forest in vastness of agricultural land almost bereft of wildlife and trees. Mass tourism, no feeling of local culture, shop-window ecology.”
“Spectacular aesthetic appeal, some improvements in tourism have been made, much more needed.”
“Since revitalization of the Brazilian National Park, this site has much improved.”
“The national parks on both the Brazilian and Argentine sides need more transboundary cooperation. The natural aesthetic appeal continues to be a major draw. There is plenty of room for improving the interpretation of the park’s biodiversity.”

The historical centre of Salvador, the Pelourinho, got the same score, 61, with the following comments:

“Renovation of the city center has completely changed the aspect of the city, together with major police control. The place became more secure for tourists, but keeping the streets clean of the local population gives it a pasteurized touch. The intangible heritage represented by the original population and their habits has been lost. Once again a place where infrastructure serves tourists more than locals.”
“Beautiful heritage site, excellent built heritage, interesting cultural demonstrations, but becoming touristy. There’s a sense that the historic zone is not the ‘real Salvador.’ Need to reinforce and infuse authenticity using more performances of artists from city.”
“The physical fabric of the historic site is well restored, however, the culture it once held is no longer there. Capoeira schools and Santeria practices no longer take place in the Pelourinho. The site holds many entertainment establishments and restaurants. It is mostly attractive in the evenings. There are plans to bring residents to the area to supplement those still living in the Santo Antonio area. This will greatly enhance the area’s attractiveness.”

Finally, the Pantanal received a score of 71, that signals “minor problems”. The comments were:

“The Pantanal is perfect for any tourist looking for wild animals and a paradise for birdwatchers. The culture of the Brazilian farmers is adapted now to tourism. Visitors can sleep, eat, and live the experiences of an old farm transformed into a safari lodge. The Pantanal is a place where the local people have benefited from tourism in a way that encourages the protection of the area, and where tourists are well informed about the locale.”
“One of the few examples in Latin America of a working cattle landscape that retains its importance for wildlife conservation. Some excellent privately run attractions, such as Conservation International’s Fazenda Rio Negro and working ranches with excellent wildlife observation.”
“Pantaneiros have their own culture—an interesting blend of cattle ranching with wildlife. Unfortunately, rivers flowing into Pantanal now are badly polluted with sewage and pesticides. Plans for wood-burning steel plants at Corumbá will have a catastrophic effect.”
“Generational division of farms and silting-in of the rivers (from agriculture outside the Pantanal) are the greatest threats at the moment. Not sustainable under current trends, and unlikely to become so.”

Tags: , , ,

Category: News

Comments are closed.