Thaise Costa Guzzatti

Ashoka Fellow
,
Fellow Since 2007
Associação de Agroturismo Acolhida na Colônia

Citation

This profile was prepared when Thaise Costa Guzzatti was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2007.
The New Idea
Thaise is fueling sustainable rural development through an agrotourism model designed to complement and sustain the livelihoods and cultures of family farmers in Brazil. Thaise initiates the development of agrotourism in impoverished rural communities willing to put in the effort to clean up, build infrastructure, and create new products and services, in accordance with a strict set of guidelines which allows them to become part of her recognized, quality-certified network. This preparation process empowers underserved communities to take ownership of Thaise’s idea, and benefits them both financially and by legitimizing their lifestyles.
As Thaise works with communities to transform them into local networks of small family-run tourism enterprises, she sparks profound social, economic, and environmental transformations. Communities are strengthened by working in cooperation to develop an array of tourist attractions. Rural families, especially youth and women, who previously lacked economic power, have new sources for jobs and income, countering the tide of urban migration. Infrastructure is developed and new commercial relationships are created between enterprises within and outside the community. Contact with tourists helps rural communities understand the value of their traditions and be proud to maintain their culture. 
Thaise is also very attentive to the other end of the chain—the tourists. One of her goals is to create a link through tourism to conscious consumerism, allowing tourists to experience the realities of the rural communities which provide their food. Thaise also carefully markets her tourism network to minimize the negative impact of tourists on rural communities.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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