Locals blame tourism for the drug epidemic
The people of Prainha now live almost exclusively from local tourism. However, if the legally established "RESEX" rules continue to be ignored, then "local" tourism will be questioned as a consequence. In addition, there is another contemporary problem:
Meanwhile, not only the youth is consuming drugs, but also some local fishermen use crack and new designer drugs. Lindomar, local activist and member of the "old" residents' association, blames without disclosing names, that the emergence of the drug mafia in the village is due to foreign tourists.
"Where there are drug users, there is also a trade"! And yes, - the state of Ceará is the main international narcotics distribution centre in the whole of Brazil.
Illegal land sales are causing local tourism to move further and further away from village life. Visitors with holiday homes bring cheaper food from the city, cook themselves, rent out their houses, to the disadvantage of local guesthouses, shops and restaurants.
If you ask the people of Prainhan today what the future looks like, the answer is; like the nearby mass tourism resort "Canoa Quebrada".
Only 20 years ago, the people of Prainha shuddered at the idea of becoming like the 80 km distant mass tourism resort "Canoa Quebrada. Back then, they had witnessed how the fishermen there sold their beach huts cheaply to investors, lost their livelihoods and from then on only got their crumbs as photo motifs or luggage carriers. Their children were exposed to prostitution and drugs.
The only difference the two fishing villages have in terms of tourism development is the very nature of the landscape: The bay of Canoa Quebrada is situated between steep cliffs which also do not completely protect the beach from the sea. But no houses have been built on the seafront, and the relatively simple tourist beach restaurants are easy to reconstruct. Also, the large wandering dunes are at the back and top of the village and do not threaten it.
Prainha do Canto Verde on the other hand, has a flat, open unprotected beach and the houses are partly threatened by wandering sand dunes. Ironically, thanks to that fact, the village is at least protected from large-scale hotel projects with no possibility of being built on shifting sand dunes. What cannot be prevented, however, is an asphalted tourist (booze) mile, as has become customary in Canoa Quebrada.
The old concept of local tourism
was based on participatory, shared income
With the financial help of various European NGOs at the beginning of the century and under the leadership of René Schärer, an approach to local tourism emerged that integrated with the environment and culture of the local fishermen. An ideal tourist back then, was someone who adapted to village life, felt comfortable in the simple accommodation and restaurants and ideally spoke Portuguese.
The longstanding alliance of several villages and "RESEX" on the coast of Ceará called "Rede Tucum" has theoretically survived the pandemic and local politics, but the "participatory" aspect has all but disappeared; the homepage has not been properly maintained for years and the NGO "Terramar" mentioned above is concentrating more on the threatened land rights of the traditional peoples in Ceará instead of promoting a local tourism programme and the "RESEX".
2015: Ausschnitte aus dem DOK:
"Zoff im Paradies" von Charlotte Eichhorn
Shaila, then a student and now a teacher, did on behalf of an NGO a small comparative study in 2014 about the situation in the at the time relatively protected "RESEX" Prainha and a neighbouring village, but reality has since caught up with them. There is no longer much difference between the two villages.
International awards for socially responsible tourism back in the days:
( German only)
Ökotourismus: Prainha do Canto Verde
UNO: Jahr des Ökotourismus
Charlotte Eichhorn wurde für den Beitrag ausgezeichnet.