For a better tourism on Ilhabela island, Brazil

HopIlhabela workshop sustainable tourism brazil 2016

Our two HopAmbassadors Florie et Maud met each other in Brazil during the carnival of Rio de Janeiro in march 2016. “Friendship at first sight”, Florie invited Maud to follow her on Ilhabela to lead a HopTrip in pairs! This first stay on the island not only gave birth to a great friendship for Florie, Maud and Alex (Pouso Sambaquis & Ciribai), but also to the idea of the co-organization of a collaborative event for a better tourism, HopIlhabela, from 1st to 3rd April 2016.

Why this collaborative workshop #HopIlhabela ?

The objective was to get together local and international tourism professionals following the World Travel Market in Sao Paulo, to nurish the discussion and stimulate experiences sharing, around the important challenge of sustainable development for tourism on Ilhabela.
Ilhabela is small Brazilian island very easy to access as it is located at just twenty minutes in boat from the coast and 4h of bus ride from Sao Paulo. 85% of the island is UNESCO biosphere reserve classified (“mata atlantica” forest). And several isolated beaches are inhabited by traditional caiçaras fishermen communities: an amazing destination for nature and travels lovers.
Until now Ilhabela is still quite little known from international travelers, but numerous Brazilians already go there to spend holidays. The big challenge of the island is now to consolidate and sustainably develop its tourism appeals. Promoting eco-tourism activities (birdwatching, scuba diving, trekking…) and empowering local communities could be a way to rise successfully to the challenge…

The 3 days event

Meeting Participants

How did the event run through ?

The 12 international participants arrived on Friday night at  Pouso SambaquisDaniella Marcondes, of Maembipe Ecotourism Consulting, opened the event and gave a presentation about the tourism context on Ilhabela, which included opportunity and threats for sustainable tourism (download the presentation).
On the second day, international participants joinded about 40 local tourism profesionnals at the Hostel da Vila. The workshop began with a presentation by Dr. D’Arcy Dornan, representative of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) in Brazil, who talked about certifications and international criteria for sustainable tourism planning, development and management. This was followed by a presentation about the importance of communicating effectively about good practices in sustainable tourism by Florie Thielin of Hopineo and journalist Ana Duek, site editor of Viajar Verde (download the presentation). The participants then proceeded to take a guided visit of the historic center of the city with Guido Botto, followed by a networking schooner sailing opportunity which took them by the northern beaches of the island.
The event also included field visits to the traditional Caiçaras communities of Castelhanos Bay with Nature Experience and Bonete with Ciribai and Pousada Canto Bravo, a bird watching itinerary in the Agua Branca trail in Ilhabela State Park with Birdwatching Ilhabela and Green Birds Ilhabela

Which were the results ?

  • 1st thematic meeting on sustainable tourism and idea of creating an association of tourism professionals to work on these challenges together.
  • This group of professionals are developing an open letter with demands for island wide sustainable tourism initiatives which will be sent to all the mayoral candidates running for office.
  • The participants compiled suggestions for the improvement and development of new ecotourism and sustainable tourism products in Ilhabela (based on the field visits), which will be completed by Maud Vannelli and shared in free access for all on :
  • Creation of a website for the communities of Bonete ( and Castelhanos and training a person in website administration with WordPress by Florie Thielin.
  • Creation of a digital library of free photos to promote ecotourism in Ilhabela.
  • Editing and publishing collaborative video to show and share about the great ecotourism potential in Ilhabela on social media: cf on YouTube.
  • Open opportunity and invitation to actively engage and collaborate with the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) and its destination assessment and sustainable tourism programs.
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