Home Institution

University of Virginia

Publication Date

Fall 2013

Program Name

Brazil: Social Justice and Sustainable Development


In 2014, Fortaleza will put on display for the entire world to see as it is one of the Brazilian cities hosting the World Cup. In preparation for such a massive event and a staggering amount attention, the state of Ceará and the Secretary of Tourism embarked on a plan to develop tourism in Ceará and the capital city, Fortaleza, into a modern tourism destination. One project in progress, Acquário Ceará, will be largest aquarium in Latin America and the third largest aquarium in the world. Situated right on the coastline of Praia de Iracema in Fortaleza, the aquarium is expected to attract 12 million visitors and generate R$ 43 million reals revenue per year. However, such a large project is also problematic: Ceará, one of the poorest states in Brazil, is using public money, in part, to construct the aquarium while it has long standing social problems yet to be resolved. Despite the potential harmful impacts on the environment and the surrounding community, the construction of the aquarium has begun and the completion is scheduled for 2015. My investigation looks at the controversy, the government’s justification for using this project to shape the future of the tourism industry in Fortaleza and Ceará, and to critically examine its environmental, political and economic impact. This monograph argues that the aquarium issue is too multifaceted to be looked at in black or white but that the aquarium represents a serious disconnect between what the people of Fortaleza want and what the government wants.


Growth and Development | Tourism | Tourism and Travel


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