Despite the economic crisis, the numbers of tourism industry have continued to grow in 2011, confirming the leading role of tourism in the global economy.
During these last years, the tourism business has discovered the borders of the Southern hemisphere, which offers tourists a real tropical paradise at a low cost. Beside traditional tourism, which tends to "segregate" the traveller in artificial environments, isolated from the real context where local people live, in recent times a new approach to tourism has developed: responsible tourism.
This degree thesis aims at defining this concept and it presents the activities of Tremembè Onlus, an association from Trento which has been promoting for several years in Brazil an ethical and conscious way of travel that meets destination countries, communities and nature with an attitude of respect and solidarity.
In the first chapter of the thesis I have analysed the environmental, economic and socio-cultural impacts of mass tourism on developing countries, giving evidence of these through the most recent data.
The second chapter introduces the concept of responsible tourism and retraces its evolution since the idea of “sustainable development" was first conceived in the eighties: international conferences, documents and codes about this issue have been taken into account. The chapter concludes with the definition of responsible tourism, through the interpretations of sociologists, anthropologists and associations that deal with this matter.
The third chapter aims at contextualizing the projects of the Association Tremembè Onlus through a short overview of the socio-economic situation in Brazil, in particular of the areas in which the association works.
The fourth and final chapter is dedicated to the Association Tremembè Onlus. The first paragraph deals with the history of the organization, from his birth in 1999 until the present day; the second one illustrates its principles and philosophy, through the analysis of its official Statute; the third paragraph describes the several projects related to responsible tourism which presently the association works at in Brazil; the last paragraph concretely presents the tourism packages which the association offers, emphasizing the ethical and solidarity nature which distinguishes them from those of traditional tour operators.