Responsible Tourism is a viable option for sustainable development, since it is based not only in the preservation of the environmental features of the area in which it operates, but also in improving the socio-economic conditions of the population living there. Its main feature is indeed the involvement and effective participation of the beneficiary communities about the tourism development process, thus ensuring the maintenance of the territories and a sustainable source of income for the communities themselves.
In this perspective, the association ZOE intends to provide technical and training support for the development of micro-tourism business in the local communities, in order to target these communities towards an autonomous management of historical, cultural and social resources of the area: the design of their itineraries, the self-management of incoming tourism, the local associations enhancement, awareness of the tourist attractions-capacity of its territory.
The project is aimed at the Mata Atlantica communities (State of São Paulo, Brazil), an area with natural and historical attractions capabilities, but also inhabited by indigenous people (Guaranì), fishing communities (caiçaras) and ex-slaves Afro communities (quilombos), with a traditional heritage of considerable interest. Through training and support, we have contributed to the development of local micro-enterprises, which are inserted into existing associations of communities.