Home Institution

University of Richmond

Publication Date

Fall 2013

Program Name

Brazil: Social Justice and Sustainable Development


When one thinks of tourism, he or she conjures images of travel, exotic locations, and spending money. Yet rarely do people stop and think about where exactly their money is going. Nowadays, tourism is a booming industry that many countries believe contributes significantly to their GDP. But while tourism may contribute significantly to a country’s economy, it may not provide the people of that nation with any substantial improvements in their quality of life. This monograph questions why Brazil has chosen to invest its GDP in the tourism industry, while the nation has 21.4% of its population in poverty (The World Bank Group, 2013). If the situation of poverty throughout Brazil is so large, why is the government spending money on an aquarium, and not directly on the people. Why is the aquarium seen as an investment in the nation’s future? Northeast Brazil has been marked as an important tourist area for the nation, given its great natural beauty of shorelines, mountains and cultural history. It will play an important role then, in the future of the nation’s tourism industry, and this may be beneficial to the region, as it experiences some of the greatest levels of economic disparity within Brazil (Siegel and Alwang, 2005). For within the Ministry of Tourism’s plans for the nation, it claims that the tourism sector will contribute to “economic and social development, and the eradication of poverty” (Governo Federal Brasil). By looking specifically at the aquarium that is being built in, Ceará – a state within this Northeastern region – this monograph will argue that while tourism and its infrastructure development in Brazil claim to improve the economic and social issues, the 5 reality is that the rhetoric of the state does not produce the necessary results to improve the welfare of its citizens. This paper will show some of the varying views and desires held by the people of Fortaleza, from university professors to scientists, to members of Poço da Draga, the community adjacent to the aquarium. It will also provide some suggestions of ways in which the government can improve the “economic and social development” of Fortaleza and her people.


Family, Life Course, and Society | Inequality and Stratification | Politics and Social Change | Tourism


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