Cecilia Zanotti

Ashoka Fellow
Fellow Since 2007


This profile was prepared when Cecilia Zanotti was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2007.
The New Idea
Cecília shows tourists a side of Brazil they wouldn’t otherwise see. Through her organization, Bagagem, she works with local nonprofits to create opportunities for visitors to interact with residents of small, impoverished communities in Brazil. Members of destination communities participate in the planning of tourist activities, which contribute to local development and promote environmental conservation. Because local culture is the main attraction, travelers have the opportunity to learn about local customs, understand how the local population lives, and become involved with local social and environmental issues.
Cecília believes that planning tourism with the input of local communities is an indispensable tool for creating sustainable development in regions where the tourism industry is growing.  She works in partnership with existing public sector organizations to create itineraries for tourists from around the world. Bagagem also helps communities organize themselves so they can shape their own tourism industries. The trips generate income for destination communities and contribute to their growth and development. Bagagem puts revenues back into the communities that generated them in order to finance further tourism projects. This sustainable model transforms communities while strengthening both the work of the social organizations and local partners. Tourists learn about the social, economic, and environmental realities of the places they visit. Their exposure to civil society organizations broadens their understanding of the social sector. Partner organizations benefit economically and become part of the network Bagagem creates, which allows them to link up with similar organizations working in other areas of the country. Finally, Cecília aims to influence Brazil’s public policy toward tourism.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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