Sustainable Urban tourism in Argentina

Support to growth of sustainable urban tourism as a tool for development and fight against marginality and  socio-economic degradation of the neighborhoods of La Boca and Barracas

icon-home Country: Argentina
icon-flag Site: Buenos Aires’ southern neighborhoods: La Boca and Barracas
icon-calendar Period: 2007 – 2010
icon-group Partners: Corporación del Sur S. E. , Sociedad de Estado, Gobierno de la Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires
icon-euro Sponsors: MAECI – (MAE DGCS)

Argentina is 2,766,890 square kilometers in extension and has a population of nearly 40 million people, mainly concentrated in the province of Buenos Aires (the most populated city of the country).
The climate ranges from subtropical in the North-East region (Chaco, Formosa, Misiones) to temperate in the wet Pampa, arid in the North-East regions and desert cold in Patagonia.
The target area of the project includes 2 neighborhoods in the South of Buenos Aires, La Boca and Barracas, belonging to the area known as “El Sur”, where the social and economic gap with the rest of the city is deepest  and most families under the poverty line are concentrated. The picture is compounded by high rates of precarious houses (over 18%) and crowding.
The schooling rate is also low.  School dropout rates are also high. This phenomenon (deserción escolar) among young people is often due to the need of supporting the economy  of their families. The future of these youths is often relying on precarious, intermittent and informal jobs.

The project was aimed to strengthen the tourism industry in Buenos Aires, focusing on the Sur area. The objective was to improve the standards of living of residents in the neighborhoods of La Boca and Barracas, by introducing a sustainable tourism pattern.
The project contributed to identify alternative approaches to tourism, as an economic activity which can  engender development mechanisms, but also support the valorization of urban or barrial (neighborhood) identity  as a necessary condition to allow the rooting and incorporation of an alternative pattern and its sustainability.
By an articulate action of sensibilization addressed to the public sector, the private sector and the residents, the project intended to set the basis for the establishment of a responsible, conscious and participatory pattern  to maximize and optimize the existing resources on the one hand, and on the other to create new forces and productive scenarios.

The project included three phases: sensibilization, valorization and training.
The action were mainly addressed to: social and cultural associations of the neighborhoods of La Boca and Barracas, public administrators, entrepreneurs of La Boca e Barracas, teachers of public schools, tour operators, institutions.

In detail:

  • 50 social and cultural associations of the neighborhoods of La Boca and Barracas partecipated to establish a forum of discussion on sustainable tourism.
  • 1000 residents of La Boca and Barracas were involved in activities aimed to valorize the local cultural heritage (theme days, exhibitions)
  • 690 residents of La Boca and Barracas took part to workshops on oral history and community theater .
  • 1092 residents attended vocational training courses.
  • Families benefitted from the improvement of their houses.

Achieved results
The project resulted in the establishment of a Permanent Center of studies   on Sustainable Tourism, CIETyD, also implementing a permanent system of sensibilization in schools
In order to valorize the cultural heritage of the neighborhoods of La Boca and Barracas, the project established the Red de Turismo Sostenible de La Boca e Barracas – RTSBB (including now 103 members)
In addition, the project actions strengthened organizations, community groups and households managing micro-businesses, and helped to start new local micro-businesses  of sustainable tourism, so enhancing the opportunities of employment in the tourism sector.
The offer of tourist packages for domestic and international customers has been differentiated and promoted, by producing information, sensibilization and promotional materials on the tourism offer in the neighborhoods of La Boca and Barracas.