From fishing villages to international tourist destinations: where are the citizens? The cases of Cabo Frio, Rio de Janeiro and Porto Seguro, Bahia - Brazil

Cristina Pereira de Araujo Luciano Muniz Abreu About the authors

Abstract

The present article examines the relationship between tourism, production of space and the role of residents at two hotspot tourist destinations in Brazil: Cabo Frio, located in the State of Rio de Janeiro and Porto Seguro, in the State of Bahia. The development of the tourist industry in the localities under study occurred at different points in time. In the first, the urbanization process was associated with the acquisition of second homes in the 1950s, while the second, located in the Northeast region of the country, this process emerged in conjunction with the mass tourism industry only in the late 1980s. We hope this research will enhance understanding of the process of urbanization and the configuration of tourism space and the conflicts arising from this in developing countries, notably Latin America. Our methodology employed theories based on those developed by Chesnais (1996, 2005, 2016), Harvey (2005, 2008, 2011, 2014), Santos (2006) and others to explain the production of space in a way that goes beyond the use of historical data and socioeconomic analysis. The initial conclusion was that, despite the differences in the process (mass tourism vs. second homes, development in space and over time and geographical position), the two geographical locations selected presented the same findings: unequal production of space and the exclusion of local populations. The tourism activity investigated in these two case studies thus appears to replicate the current stage of development in Brazil, characterized by inequality and exclusion and reflected in the landscapes of the country’s tourist destinations.

Keywords:
Brazilian coastline Tourism; Production of space; Gentrification; Uneven development

INTRODUCTION

More than 7,000km in length, the Brazilian coastline is, nowadays, a natural location for leisure activities involving sun and sea. According to the latest Population Census, approximately one-quarter of Brazilians live in coastal municipalities, a total of 50.7 million individuals (IBGE, 2019). Almost every coastal city in Brazil has a population density higher than that of the State in which it is located, thus confirming the socioeconomic appeal of these areas, which was already apparent in the colonial period.

While interaction with the sea first brought the advantages of exploitation of marine resources and facilitated the flow of intercontinental goods through ports, coastal spaces now seem to possess great strategic importance, with economic features, such as the circulation of goods, large industrial structures, port facilities and offshore oil installations; ecological features, such as ecosystems that are important for the reproduction and maintenance of marine and coastal wildlife; and socio-cultural functions, such as natural attractions that provide a wide range of leisure and recreation activities, including tourism.

The human impact resulting from intensification of the urbanization process and the more recent increase in and diversification of economic activity in coastal areas has been superimposed geographically on activities traditionally associated with these areas (such as fishing) and on their fragile ecosystems. This has been the cause of social and environmental conflicts that are hard to resolve (INEA, 2015). Acquiring a greater understanding of the process of the production of space in such areas is thus of great strategic importance, from a socio-economic, political and environmental point of view.

The present article thus aims to examine the relationship between tourism and the production of space at two hotspot tourist destinations in Brazil: Cabo Frio, in the lakes region of the State of Rio de Janeiro, and Porto Seguro, in the State of Bahia. Both are classified as Category "A" in the Map of Tourism in Brazil (BRASIL, 2019). These are locations that, in recent decades, have undergone intensive expansion of their urban area, driven by exogenous action on the part of public authorities and private enterprise. This has produced a spatial configuration and territorial reconfiguration shaped by tourism and the real estate market and sparked a variety of economic, social, spatial and environmental conflicts.

The tourist industry developed in these localities at different points in time. In the first location, situated in the Southeast region, near the State capital of Rio de Janeiro, the urbanization process was associated with the buying of second homes. In Porto Seguro, on the other hand, which is located in the Northeast region, 700km from the capital city of the State of Bahia, Salvador, this development occurred only in conjunction with the emergence of a mass tourism industry, in the late 1980s. The two municipalities share a significant number of features in common: i) both used to be fishing villages; ii) in both, the transformation of the landscape began with tourism, and with the installation of major transport infrastructure projects, such as the BR-101 highway; and iii) both are considered strategic locations for tourism investment, according to the Map of Tourism in Brazil (2019).

In view of this, the present paper examines the conflicts between the process of tourist urbanization and the residents, highlighting the process of gentrification and the expulsion of the members of the original population that do not benefit from tourism.

Sun and sea tourism, financial liberalization and tourism policy in Brazil

The production of space for tourism in coastal areas in Brazil was closely related to the economic restructuring of the 1990s, on the one hand, and the incentives provided by the state through federal tourism policy on the other.

The economic opening that resulted from the breakdown of the Breton Woods agreement and the natural transition from a Fordist system to more flexible accumulation, as discussed extensively by David Harvey (1992HARVEY, D. The condition of Postmodernity: an Enquiry into the Origins of Cultural Change. São Paulo, Edições Loyola, 1992., 2005, 2008, 2011, 2014) and Francois Chesnais (1996CHESNAIS, F. A mundialização do capital. São Paulo, Xamã, 1996., 2005, 2016), enabled the formation of a globalized financial market. This gave rise to various new forms of investment, such as foreign direct investment (FDI) and the migration of investment funds to countries that held more appeal for capital investors.

The opening of the Brazilian economy and, from the 1990s onwards, fuller incorporation of Brazil into the process of financial liberalization, thus expanded the geographical horizons for the migration of international capital. It was at this time, at a time of deep economic recession, that the Federal Government began to see tourism as a way of leveraging the economy of stagnant regions, especially the Northeast of Brazil.

This view has become more explicit since the 1990s and is neither sheer coincidence nor solely the initiative of Brazilian governments that have started to see tourism as an economic activity capable of contributing to the development of the country. Economic and cultural changes rooted in the process of financial liberalization underway in Brazil and elsewhere in the world, have opened the way for the systematic exploration of tourism, across a large swathe of the country (ABREU, 2010ABREU, L. M. Uma "viagem” de inclusão: turismo, desenvolvimento e território. Thesis (PhD in Urban and Regional Planning). Rio de Janeiro, IPPUR/UFRJ, 2010. Available: http://objdig.ufrj.br/42/teses/759820.pdf. Access in: Oct. 2020.
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).

As the state always needs to adapt to the new form of capital accumulation, there has been an increase in public policy initiatives related to tourism introduced by the Federal Government since 1991. The first and most important was probably PRODETUR/NE (Tourism Development Program for the Northeast).

PRODETUR/NE came into being in 1991 and its main goal was to strengthen tourism in the Northeast region, consolidating the reputation of the coastline as an important national and international tourist destination. This was a long-term program, which came to an end in 2017. In keeping with a context of financial liberalization, the Inter-American Development Bank partnered with Federal Government to provide resources. The main idea of the Program was to provide the infrastructure through state action. Funding was provided for high-priority projects in the fields of sanitation, transport, solid waste management, environmental protection, preservation of heritage, and improvement of airport infrastructure. In return, the private sector would invest in hotels and other tourist facilities such as theme parks (ABREU, 2010ABREU, L. M. Uma "viagem” de inclusão: turismo, desenvolvimento e território. Thesis (PhD in Urban and Regional Planning). Rio de Janeiro, IPPUR/UFRJ, 2010. Available: http://objdig.ufrj.br/42/teses/759820.pdf. Access in: Oct. 2020.
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; ARAUJO, 2011ARAUJO, C. P.. Terra à vista! O litoral brasileiro na mira dos empreendimentos turísticos imobiliários. Thesis (PhD in Architecture and Urbanism). São Paulo, FAU/USP, 2011. Available: http://www.teses.usp.br/teses/disponiveis/16/16139/tde-19012012-140819/. Accessed in: Dec. 2020.
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; CRUZ, 2001CRUZ, R. de C. A. Política de turismo e território. São Paulo, Contexto, 2001.; RODRIGUES, 2001RODRIGUES, Adyr A. B. (Ed.). Turismo e Geografia: reflexões teóricas e enfoques regionais. São Paulo: Hucitec, 2001.).

Twelve years later, in 2003, the Ministry of Tourism was created. This demonstrated the importance that tourism had assumed in Brazil. National Tourism Plans were being drawn up, goals including plans to increase the number of tourists visiting the country, boost revenue, and so forth.

Given its scope, PRODETUR was welcomed by the National Tourism Plans and, by 2018, it had generated financial resources not only for the Northeast region but for any Brazilian State that wished to apply for a credit line. As a result, the number of international tourists visiting Brazil soared from one million in 1990 to five million in 2010.

The impact of financial capital on the production of space

With the financial liberalization and deregulation of the 1990s, the connection between finance and the real estate market became much more direct, since a bank anywhere in the world could now finance a venture elsewhere, requiring only the mediation of the local government. In other words, the production of urban space became subject to the free flow of capital and real-estate speculation.

It is thus fair to say that the deregulation of the financial market has exacerbated the extent to which exchange value is valued more highly than use-value. This is what Harvey (1989HARVEY, D. The Urban Experience. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1989.) calls an investment in the secondary circuit of capital: the ways in which financial capital shapes the built environment.

Investment in the secondary circuit of capital is an alternative to over-accumulation in the primary circuit of production. This allows an inversion of flows that facilitates the formation of long-term assets, which include features of the built environment, such as buildings. These investments are cyclical and follow the same stages of over-accumulation as the primary circuit.

Harvey (2005HARVEY, D. Spaces of capital: Towards a critical geography. São Paulo, Annablume, 2005.) also introduces the concept of spatial adjustment, which is understood here in the following terms: (i) there is an adjustment through the relocation of investments at an international or even internal (national or regional) level, envisioning the incorporation of new territories into the process of accumulation and appreciation of capital and this also makes it possible, when necessary, to resume capitalist accumulation; (ii) there is also a literal spatial adjustment, involving adjustment (adaptation) of the urban form to the new economic activities that are imposed, usually without the inclusion of local populations but with significant impact on their quality of life.

Milton Santos (2006SANTOS, M. The nature of the space: technique and time, reason and emotion. São Paulo, Edusp, 2006.) examines such adjustments, from a trans-scale perspective, using the concepts of horizontality and verticality, which form the theoretical structure of local-global unification through capitalism that takes concrete form in the built environment. The expansion of the capitalist model is thus associated with the process of (re) structuring vertical action (global hegemonic forces) that transform and subordinate the local scale to the necessary growth process of the capitalist logic, but this does not occur without resistance.

The performance of the forces of verticality (space of flows) and horizontality (local forces) coexist in a space incorporated into the globalized world and, despite the verticality, the strength of the place (horizontality) shapes the world in its own manner. Araujo (2011ARAUJO, C. P.. Terra à vista! O litoral brasileiro na mira dos empreendimentos turísticos imobiliários. Thesis (PhD in Architecture and Urbanism). São Paulo, FAU/USP, 2011. Available: http://www.teses.usp.br/teses/disponiveis/16/16139/tde-19012012-140819/. Accessed in: Dec. 2020.
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) shows how, in the field of tourism, international hotel chains fit the concept of verticality well, since their command structure and logistics is aligned primarily with the interests of the head office, which, in turn, is located in a foreign country. Horizontality, on the other hand, encompasses the set of relationships deriving from the territory itself and despite the “will to unify and homogenize verticality” (SANTOS, 2006SANTOS, M. The nature of the space: technique and time, reason and emotion. São Paulo, Edusp, 2006., p. 110). As a result, there is a fragmentation of the territory, with spaces in which tourist use operates as a tonic (tourist territories) embedded in spaces for residents.

Finally, Logan & Molotoch (1996LOGAN, J.R.; MOLOTOCH, H.L. The city as a Growth Machine. In: FAISTEIN; CAMPBELL (ed.). Readings in Urban Theory, 291-338, 1996.) have introduced the notion of the growth machine in relation to the production of urban space. For these authors, local actors work directly for this growth machine, convincing the population to adopt the new trend. The principal actors are i) politicians: campaign finance is closely related to favors that politicians bestow by way of a return on a given sector and/or local entrepreneur with whom they have a privileged relationship; ii) the local media: through enhancement of the image of the locale; the owners of major media outlets being usually also linked to politicians and the major building contractors in the city; and iii) public utility providers: very often, real-estate speculators and owners of transport companies are the same people, who thus direct where the expansion of the city will take place.

The following sections present an examination of the spatial transformations caused by tourism in the specific locations under study (Cabo Frio/RJ and Porto Seguro/BA - figure 1) guided by the theories introduced above. It is important to note that, despite enormous differences regarding the process of bringing tourism to the localities of the region (the predominant timing and type of tourism, second homes - regional reach - and mass tourism, as part of a global chain) the process tends to follow the same logic and lead to very similar results for the local population.

Figure 1
Bahia and Rio de Janeiro states. In red the BR-101 highway.

Tourism and production of space in Cabo Frio/RJ, Brazil

Cabo Frio is located in the State of Rio de Janeiro, 153km from the capital and currently part of the Costa do Sol tourist region, along with 12 other municipalities (Figure 2). With an estimated population of 226,525 inhabitants, Cabo Frio is now the largest and most important municipality in the Baixada Litorânea mesoregion in demographic and economic terms, with an economy based on tourism, and the salt and oil industries. It is divided into two districts: Tamoios, located to the north and the main district, situated further to the south (Figure 3).

Figure 2
Cabo Frio within the Rio de Janeiro state and ‘Costa do Sol’ tourist region.

Cabo Frio is one of the oldest towns in Brazil, its occupation dating back to the 16th and 17th centuries. For most of its history, the town’s economy has been based on extractive activities, especially traditional fishing. In the last four decades, Cabo Frio has undergone intensive expansion of its urban area as a result of action undertaken by both the government and the private sector. This has led to a spatial reconfiguration related to tourism and real-estate development (second homes) and has also generated a range of liabilities and conflicts of a socio-economic, spatial and environmental nature, especially regarding spaces reserved for the local population.

Figure 3
Cabo Frio and its two districts: Tamoios and the main district (Cabo Frio) - in the circle the Itajurú Canel.

Occupation of land and urbanization in the region has been on the increase since 1940, when the salt industry began to overtake fishing as the main economic activity of the municipality, owing to the arrival of large companies such as Companhia Nacional de Álcalis (National Alkalis Company) and other salt industry companies, which came later. As Ramão (2018RAMÃO, F. de S. Limitations of the tourist town in Cabo Frio, RJ: when the light flickers. Espaço e Economia [online], 13, 2018., p. 5-6) points out, “the fishing and salt economy reflected directly on space, with neighborhoods of fishermen, boats and artisanal fishing culture in various parts of the city” in addition to the presence of salt pans and the use of the Araruama lagoon and Itajurú Canal (which connects the lagoon to the ocean) as essential locations for the development of the fishing and salt industries.

The qualities of the landscape and the proximity of the location to the State capital facilitated the perception of the tourism potential of the municipality, leading to investment in tourism and leisure facilities. There was also the beginning of the construction of second homes by affluent citizens of Rio de Janeiro and the first government interventions in the spatial configuration of the territory. The state gets involved in promotion when it notices the substantial impact of tourism on the daily life of the city, creating the first public organizations responsible for the urban reorganization necessary for the exploitation of this activity.

The opening of the BR-101 federal highway in the 1950s (figures 1 and 2), connecting the cities of Rio de Janeiro (RJ) and Vitória (ES), made new connections possible decades later, with the RJ-106 State highway (the main access road to the region) facilitating the increase in the number of tourists coming from the State capital (Rio de Janeiro). In the 1970s, the inauguration of the President Costa e Silva Bridge (Rio-Niterói Bridge), resulted in a growth in the influx of temporary visitors, providing a boost for the construction of new tourist facilities and second homes and consolidating the reputation of the town as a Rio de Janeiro State beach resort.

During the same decade, the first substantial changes in Cabo Frio’s urban space related to tourism occurred. These were the interventions in the Itajurú Canal, which is the original town center and a focus for traditional activities (fishing and the salt industry). This canal underwent a number of land-filling operations to provide sufficient space for the construction of second home condominiums for wealthy citizens of the State of Rio de Janeiro and, therefore, also experienced an intensive process of spatial reconfiguration, from which the traditional population was totally excluded. This was the beginning of the spatial adaptation of Cabo Frio to real-estate/tourism capital. Figure 4 shows that the original fishing neighborhood has lost direct access to the canal as a result of the land-filling and installation of residential condominiums.

It is interesting to note the importance of road infrastructure for second home tourism. The host areas are usually located near to large high-income urban centers (Tulik, 2001TULIK, O. Tourism and lodging facilities: second homes. São Paulo, Roca, 2001, 113p.), where most journeys from origin to destination are by car. This explains why such a great effort is being made to provide this type of infrastructure.

Figure 4
Itajurú Canal (highlighted in figure 3) - Cabo Frio/RJ, Brazil (1963 and 2020), changes in the use of space with the installation of condominiums in the 1970s.

Araujo (2011ARAUJO, C. P.. Terra à vista! O litoral brasileiro na mira dos empreendimentos turísticos imobiliários. Thesis (PhD in Architecture and Urbanism). São Paulo, FAU/USP, 2011. Available: http://www.teses.usp.br/teses/disponiveis/16/16139/tde-19012012-140819/. Accessed in: Dec. 2020.
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, p. 204) also points out that “second homes act as an inducer of the urbanization process, presenting a close association with the real estate market”. Consequently, this market will contribute to the dispute for the use of the best areas, in view of the location-specific advantages and/or monopoly income. This is precisely what was observed in Cabo Frio in the case of the interventions relating to the Canal do Itajurú and the decline of salt industry activity in the 1980s. Spaces used by the fishing and salt industry began to be disputed and occupied by various real-estate projects, especially those involving high- and middle-income second homes. At that time, tourism became an important driver of the local economy, especially in the real-estate sector. Currently, about 33% of dwellings in the municipality are for occasional use (IBGE, 2010). In the late 1970s, tourism became the main source of income for the municipality, surpassing the more traditional fishing and salt industry activities. Figure 5 shows the distribution of second homes in Cabo Frio in the year 2010 (date of the last Demographic Census), showing that they are concentrated in the census districts located on the waterfront, notably in the main district.

Between 1940 and 1980, with the increase in industry and tourism, the town experienced intensive population growth, from 8,816 to 50,239 inhabitants, respectively. In the following decades, population growth continued to accelerate. In 1991, the municipality had 84,750 inhabitants, while in 2010 that number had increased to 186,227. This means that, in the last three decades, the population of Cabo Frio has more than doubled.

Figure 5
Distribution of second homes - Cabo Frio/RJ

Population growth brought urban sprawl (Figure 6) and produced a series of impacts on the municipal territory, such as irregular land occupation, environmental conflicts, real-estate pressure, the development of slums, changes in traditional land uses, and so forth.

This population growth can be attributed to the migratory flow of workers in search of job opportunities. Initially, between the 1940s and the 1970s, this was closely associated with industry and, later, (from the 1970s onwards) with services and civil construction, as a direct result of the growth and dynamism of tourism in the municipality. Functional and spatial reorganization, as well as urbanization, become tools for consolidation and expansion of the tourism industry, with investment concentrated in the areas chosen for the development of this activity, namely, those with location-specific advantages or those susceptible to the formation of a monopoly.

Figure 6
Cabo Frio/RJ - Increase in urban areas - the 1960s to 2020s.

From the 1990s onwards, the growing exploitation of oil and gas in the Campos basin and the payment of royalties led Cabo Frio to allocate a large portion of these resources to various infrastructure projects. Between 1997 and 2015, the town council ran 32 projects funded by royalties which, directly or indirectly, supported the promotion of tourism in the municipality. These included ten urban waterfront redevelopments (such as Parque das Águas, Figure 8-B), the construction of a new airport, and various other projects related to road improvements and leisure facilities. As a result of public investment, the market has grown and diversified investment in the area, taking advantage of and, in some cases, directing state investment. This is a good example of the action of the local growth machine, as expounded by Logan and Molotoch (1996LOGAN, J.R.; MOLOTOCH, H.L. The city as a Growth Machine. In: FAISTEIN; CAMPBELL (ed.). Readings in Urban Theory, 291-338, 1996.).

It is worth focusing in particular on the growth of the urban area of the second district (Tamoios) from the 2000s onwards. Investment in the improvement of public spaces related to tourism in the main district (of Cabo Frio) increased the value of real estate, and interventions carried out by the local public authorities to restrict the access of lower-income vacationers to the main beaches of this district (MELO, 2009MELO, E. S. O. de. Da privatização da paisagem às tentativas de homogeneização do território: políticas públicas e conflitos na urbanização turística de Cabo Frio. Thesis. Master in Urban and Regional Planning. Rio de Janeiro, IPPUR/UFRJ, 2009.). This ultimately resulted in massively increased use for leisure and tourism by these populations of the Tamoios district, which now receives large numbers of day-vacationers and is filled with second homes for less economically privileged individuals from the metropolitan region of the capital of Rio de Janeiro and other locations.

Increased urbanization and the emergence of new intra-urban dynamics have thus been accompanied by a process of spatial adjustment in the municipality, producing and adapting the space to the new social relations of production. This process of spatial adjustment (HARVEY, 2005HARVEY, D. Spaces of capital: Towards a critical geography. São Paulo, Annablume, 2005.) has led not only to various conflicts, but also to a new urban configuration (albeit with some residual ruggedness) closely related to tourism and real-estate development, in which there is an expansion and (re)configuration of the urban area along the coastline, with the lower-income local population being relegated to less privileged spaces.

The significant increase in the value of the land has pushed the poorest population to the fringes of the coastal neighborhoods, forcing them to occupy either the remaining poorly equipped spaces surrounding large companies or areas further from the central zone, such as the Tamoios district, in which some of the leisure activity for the local population is currently concentrated and which is also one of the last redoubts of the artisanal fishing in Cabo Frio (Figure 7). In Tamoios, there has also been an increase in the number of second homes for lower-income individuals from the metropolitan region of Rio de Janeiro. Figure 8 shows the differential treatment of urban space in Cabo Frio resulting from tourism, as the town adapts over time to the interests of tourism/real estate capital to the detriment of the local population.

Figure 7
Income distribution per household/ census sector - Cabo Frio/RJ.

Figure 8
Second homes on the Itajurú Canal (A). Praça das Águas (B). Pontal de Santo Antônio, Tamoios - remnant of artisanal fishing (C). Buraco do Boi Comunity, Passagem neighborhood (D).

Tourism and the production of space in Porto Seguro/BA, Brazil

Located in the extreme south of the State of Bahia, 707 km from the State capital of Salvador, in the tourist region of the Costa do Descobrimento, Porto Seguro is synonymous with the event known as the ‘Discovery of Brazil’, which occurred on 22 April in the year 1500 (Figure 9). Tourism came much later to Porto Seguro and only began to have a major impact in the late 20th century.

Forgotten for almost three centuries of pau-brasil tree exploitation, trading posts and hereditary captaincies, Porto Seguro was the setting for bloody struggles between colonizers and colonized - the Tupi and Aimoré peoples - which brought stagnation to the village for many years (ARAUJO, 2007ARAUJO, C. P. Um Porto Seguro para os próximos 500 anos. Bahia Análise & Dados, v. 15, p. 323-332, 2007.).

Figure 9
Porto Seguro/BA within the tourist region of the ‘Costa do Descobrimento’.

From the period when extraction of natural resources was the main activity to the beginnings of the sugarcane cycle, whose production infrastructure succumbed to attacks by the Aimoré people, the social and economic life of the Captaincy was sluggish between the early 17th and mid-18th centuries. When Brazil was declared a republic, Porto Seguro was granted municipal status (on 30 June 1891).

The opening, in 1973, of the BR-101 highway, crossing the State of Bahia, left a deep mark on relations between the far south of Bahia and the national Brazilian economy, at first, facilitating extraction - which, within a decade, would strip the region of timber and transform its forests into pasture - and then, making tourism possible in Porto Seguro by the construction of the BR-367 branch of the BR-101 highway, in the municipality of Eunápolis. In fact, it was the desire of the local growth machine (LOGAN; MOLOTOCH, 1996LOGAN, J.R.; MOLOTOCH, H.L. The city as a Growth Machine. In: FAISTEIN; CAMPBELL (ed.). Readings in Urban Theory, 291-338, 1996.), particularly landowners, to promote the production of space for tourism, as shown in Figure 10.

Figure 10
“Porto Seguro will be the largest tourism hub in Brazil” - headline from an issue of the Jornal da Bahia newspaper from1974.

In the 1970s and 1980s, occupation was sporadic and resulted in scant investment in hotels along the northern shore of the Porto Seguro district. Fishing was the main source of income for the population. With the advent of Prodetur/NE and the consequent release of financial resources totaling US$ 73,564 million in 1996 (ARAUJO, 2004ARAUJO, C. P. Porto Seguro: A perda do Paraíso: os reflexos do turismo na sua paisagem. Thesis (Master in Architecture and Urbanism). São Paulo, FAU/USP, 2004. Available: https://www.teses.usp.br/teses/disponiveis/16/16131/tde-03062014-161546/pt-br.php. Access in: Dec. 2020.
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), Porto Seguro underwent intensive production of space for tourism, facilitating the circulation of visitors and creating new systems of objects (SANTOS, 2006SANTOS, M. The nature of the space: technique and time, reason and emotion. São Paulo, Edusp, 2006.) to create and meet demand. This investment in the secondary circuit of capital is exactly what is to be expected in times of financial liberalization (HARVEY, 1989HARVEY, D. The Urban Experience. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1989.).

The public financial resources from Prodetur/NE and a cocoa crop crisis in the 1980s generated significant migration to Porto Seguro, in pursuit of the tourism development promised for the region. This is reflected in the population increase of almost zero between 1970 (33,108 inhabitants) and 1991 (34,661 inhabitants) and the boom that occurred in the 2000s, from 95,721 inhabitants in 2000, to 126,929 inhabitants in 2010, and 148,686 in 2019, which represents an increase of 176.16% in the period between 1991 and 2000; 32.60% for 2000 to 2010; and 17.14% for 2010 to 2019 (IBGE, 2019).

This substantial increase in population, expected in societies on the periphery of the capitalist system, resulted in urban expansion without any specific guidelines. The main instrument regulating land use in the municipality is the ‘Plano Diretor’ (Master Plan), which, in Porto Seguro, was first introduced as recently as 2006. This has resulted in a situation where there are two Porto Seguros: one for tourism, which basically occupies the seaside, and another for the large population mass resulting from migration, which has occupied leftover areas.

Broadly speaking, therefore, four of the five districts (Figure 11) that make up the municipality (Porto Seguro, Arraial d'Ajuda, Trancoso and Caraíva) are situated on the flatlands along the coast and contain hotels, services and second homes, while the vast majority of the population, which is poor, lives “new neighborhoods,” located further afield. In the Porto Seguro district, Baianão is the most populous neighborhood, accommodating more than half of the town's entire population. Baianão grew up in the 1980s as a result of the cocoa crisis and its population mushroomed in the following decades, when peripheral neighborhoods also began to appear in other districts, such as new Arraial d’Ajuda and new Trancoso (Figure 12).

Figure 11
Porto Seguro and its five districts: Arraial d’Ajuda, Trancoso, Caraíva, Vale Verde and the main district (Porto Seguro). Income distribution per census sector.

Figure 12
Porto Seguro - Increase in urban areas from 1980s to 2020.

Nevertheless, it is in the district of Trancoso that the contrast is especially striking. All tourism planning proposals at the time of Prodetur/NE already singled out this district as the privileged locus for spatial adjustment, as suggested by the model put forward by Harvey (2005HARVEY, D. Spaces of capital: Towards a critical geography. São Paulo, Annablume, 2005.) and Santos (2006SANTOS, M. The nature of the space: technique and time, reason and emotion. São Paulo, Edusp, 2006.). This was, first of all, because it was a district with few inhabitants: in 1990, there were basically only fishermen living in the area. The distance from the main district (Porto Seguro) and difficulty of access (across the Buranhém River by ferry) ensured continued isolation. However, Prodetur/NE resources made it possible, in 2002, to build the BA-001 highway, connecting the district of Trancoso to the BR-367 highway right next to the airport, which was upgraded by the government to receive international flights as part of an incentive to attract private investment and convert Trancoso into an international destination. This gave rise to intensive production of space and modification of the landscape, with the aim of remodeling land use for the purposes of tourism.

The urban perimeter of the Trancoso district has been listed by the Historical, Artistic and National Heritage Institute - IPHAN (Decree-Law nº 72.107 on 4/18/73). The site covers an area of 15.55 hectares and contains 61 buildings, including the São João Batista Church, built in the early 18th century, and is known by local people as the "Quadrado".

While, until the end of the 1990s, Quadrado was still used by the local population, who lived in traditional houses, nowadays there is intensive real-estate development in the area, complete with consequent verticality, to use the concept coined by Milton Santos (2006SANTOS, M. The nature of the space: technique and time, reason and emotion. São Paulo, Edusp, 2006.), whereby the readjustment of objects for tourist use adds new elements and new uses disconnected from the local reality as a result of the new territorial division of labor.

In Trancoso, there are 47 lodging facilities registered by the Ministry of Tourism, most of them located in Quadrado Square (Figure 13). In these cases, the production of space for tourism involved turning the traditional houses of the fishing community to new uses (Figures 13A, 14A). However, it is the Terra Vista real-estate venture, a mixture of Club Med resort and second homes, which clearly demonstrates the verticality of the location. Right next to the resort, the L’Occitane Theater rounds off the gentrification/verticality of a place which is definitely no longer used by the local population.

Figure 13
District of Trancoso: hotels, inns and resorts.

Quadrado Square and Club Med Trancoso clearly form part of a sender/receiver relationship between Trancoso and the world, with the adaptation of the old fishing community houses to a new use directly related to the potential senders: visitors from the Southeast region of Brazil and overseas. The location of the receiver can thus be seen to depend on the binary pair it forms with the sender location, which greatly influences the geography of the receiver locality. There is stark evidence of gentrification in Trancoso: its New Year's Eve parties, for instance, are now world-famous and sought out even by international celebrities.

On the other hand, this type of occupation inevitably results in the exclusion of the local population, which used to inhabit the surroundings of the São João Batista Church, in Quadrado Square (Figures 13B,14B). This local population now lives in new neighborhoods referred to as "invasions" (Figures 13C, 14C). There are ‘invasions’ on one hand, an explosion of real-estate/tourism speculation on the other.

Figure 14
District of Trancoso. New uses of fishing community housing (A). Quadrado Square (B). ‘Invasions’ (C).

FINAL CONSIDERATIONS

Although the production of urban space has preceded tourism, as is the case in most tourist locations, both Cabo Frio/RJ and Porto Seguro/BA show that increased urbanization has enabled a boom in tourism. However, it is clear that, at a specific point in time, the tourist industry started (by way of the real-estate market) to exert control over the production of space in this location and also to direct the urbanization process, with the backing of both the state and the market, moving it in a perverse direction of socio-spatial exclusion and fragmentation.

As a result of this twofold intervention, of state and market, the tourist industry can act in complete disregard of the pre-existing socio-spatial logic and thus contributes to the production of a fragmented space, unrelated to the dynamics of the location, as a consequence of the hegemonic rationale of reproduction that pertains in the secondary circuit of capital.

To conclude, we have seen that, in both cases, despite the differences between the two processes (tourism vs. second homes, development in space and time and geographical location), the outcomes are the same: production of unequal space and exclusion of the local population. In these cases, therefore, tourism reproduces the current stage of development in Brazil, characterized by inequality and exclusion and this is reflected in the landscapes of its tourist destinations.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

To Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq) for funding the Group of Research Cidades Litorâneas e Turismo (CILITUR). This article is an excerpt from the investigation developed by the group.

To the undergraduate students Alan Santos (Universidade Federal de Pernambuco - UFPE) and Priscila Oliveira (Universidade Federal Rural do Rio de Janeiro - UFRRJ) for their contribution to the preparation and editing of the maps.

To Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior (Capes)and UFPE for financing the translation of this article.

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  • FOUNDING SOURCE

    The research is funded by the Universal Call - MCTI / CNPq n. 28/2018.

Publication Dates

  • Publication in this collection
    16 Mar 2022
  • Date of issue
    2022

History

  • Received
    02 July 2021
  • Accepted
    08 Oct 2021
  • Published
    16 Dec 2021
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