Ethno tourism: segment of tourist activity brings visitors and traditional peoples close together

Karol Rocha – Cenarium Magazine

Who has never wanted to get to know the culture and customs of traditional indigenous peoples up close? This is the essence of the leisure activity called ethno tourism. With this segment, it is possible to have contact with languages, narratives, customs, knowledge, and foods of the original populations. The activity is also an important source of income for several peoples.

“Visitors get to know other cultures and new customs of a certain people, which can include indigenous lands or communities. It is a segment of tourism that will generate income, there will be an associated production such as handicrafts and other sources for the people who receive the visitors”, explained the doctor and master in Environmental Sciences and Sustainability in the Amazon and professor of the Tourism Bachelor Course of the Amazonas State University Susy Rodrigues Simonetti.

In Manaus, it is possible to get a closer look at the culture of indigenous communities such as the Nova Esperança, located in the Puranga Conquista Sustainable Development Reserve (RDS), on the Cuieiras River, and also the Três Unidos, located in the Environmental Protection Area (APA) of the Rio Negro, 60 kilometers from Manaus. According to Susy Simonetti, the protected areas are more favorable territories for tourism activities.

“In the Nova Esperança indigenous community, you will have contact with the Baré people, they have already been working with tourism for some time, they are strong in the production of handicrafts. And there is also the indigenous community Três Unidos, of the Kambeba people. There is a whole interaction through handicrafts, storytelling, and experience. I believe that it is a very interesting experience when we think about ethno-tourism”.

Protagonism of Traditional Peoples

Also according to Susy Simonetti, besides creating a form of subsistence, ethnic tourism promotes cultural valorization, social inclusion, and environmental conservation in indigenous areas. “These experiences in indigenous territories, in fact, favor income generation through tourism and other activities such as the production of sweets and handicrafts. Obviously, within indigenous lands this is possible through the creation of visitation plans. (…) We realize that the protagonism is local”, he added.

Traditional peoples of the Warrior Sierras of Tapuruquara. (Photo: Marcelo Monzillo/Garupa)

Another tourism initiative in the Amazon is the one that takes place in the Warrior Sierras of Tapuruquara, which are in the municipality of Santa Isabel do Rio Negro. The indigenous communities are in the Middle and Upper Rio Negro, in the Northwest Amazon. There are eight peoples in the area – Baniwa, Baré, Dessana, Dow, Kauyawí, Piratapuya, Tariana, and Tukano.

Ethno-tourism and ecotourism initiatives on indigenous lands are disciplined by Normative Instruction No. 3/2015 of the National Indian Foundation (Funai). According to the foundation, indigenous communities have autonomy to explore tourism projects in their territories, and the government is responsible for monitoring and inspecting activities in the villages. Visits are scheduled with the representatives of the communities themselves or with tourism agencies authorized by them.

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