Impact of Tourism – Dilemma?

White sand beach and cultural vibe, as well as the recent FIFA world cup, make Brazil into one of the most popular tourism destination in South America. Tourism plays major role in economic activities in several regions and constitutes a large part in boosting the economic growth. Many people were benefited from the industry through creation of jobs and the increase of money spending activities. In some sense, for Brazil becomes one of world largest economy, tourism sector is undeniable one of the major contributor.

Brazil White Sand Beach

Brazil White Sand Beach

However, while exploiting the benefit of tourism, some of the issue rise upon can’t be ignored. Similar to many other tourism destinations for its culture authenticity, Brazil suffers from loss of local identity and values. As this “tourism” authenticity become commoditize, “there is a loss of authenticity due to adapting cultural expressions to the tastes of tourist like performing shows as if they were ‘real life’”(Terrero 2014). Another example would be local handcrafts, it losses the original meaning and tradition to match up with the tourist demand. Displacement of the indigenous is another issue arises due to the popular tourist demand. In a more urban content, ethical issues such as increase in crime, child labor, culture clashes are also some of the negative impact of tourism.

Handcraft Store

Handcraft Store

Commentary: As a frequent traveler (I have admit, traveler does sound better than tourist), the dilemma of tourism towards one place was never once brought to my attention until recently. I guess most of time, when we travel to a place (short-term), we are still mostly self-orientated. This is as while we experience the other culture, we are actually going from the perspective of our own culture. In such way, it is near impossible for us to learn the culture deep enough to differentiate what is been commoditized. I guess the lesson from this is to just keep an open mind while travelling, after all, there is nothing much we could do towards this dilemma.

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Culture “shock” in Brazil

Sunshine, beaches, great party, lay-back attitudes, friendly people, great food, etc. are all tags of this fabulous Country. However, here are few things you need to know before going that might cause culture “shock”:

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Languages

Languages barrier is an issue while traveling in Brazil. Being a Portuguese speaking country within Spanish speaking continent, English is not widely spread and only a limited number of people would understand and speak it. Outside of tourist hotspot, San Paulo and Rio, people that know how to speak English is rarely found. Because being foreign place, the language barrier is the number one thing for “shock”.

Brazil Beach

Beach

On Time

If you are a puncture person, then you are out of lucky. It is a social norm to be late and it is actually consider rude to the host if you show up right on time. Basically, NOTHING happens on time.

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Kissing

Expect no introverts in Brazil. You are expected to give a kiss on both cheeks between adult male and female when introduce as well as upon departure. It’s customary way of greeting in Brazil.

 

Commentary:

The reason behind I use quotation mark for shock is that Culture shock is often times missed use for describing confusion while exploring other places. Traditionally, culture is used in anthropology to identify the shock in more of long term context where involve the process of adaption or oppression. In general, traveling as a tourist does not involve with much of a shock but more of confusion with the expectation.  The difference between the new culture and your own often times cause the sense of confusion and discomfort.

Personally, I have been traveling to as well as living in many different places. One of the best way to mitigate “shock” is to manage your expectation. Do your homework before travel and hold an open heart while traveling.