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Brazil: An Interview with Silvio Barros II

Silvio Barros II is the secretary of tourism for the state of Paraná, Brazil.

Q: What is your definition of ecotourism and the role the ecolodge plays within that definition?

A: There is no definition that can encompass everything worldwide. Each country, each place, must come up with its own definition. One thing is sure, ecotourism is related to the ecosystem where it is being performed and to the local culture. As these things are unique, the definition must be unique. In any definition of ecotourism there must be a component of education, of support for conservation. It is very important that people help the local communities through ecotourism. These components must be within the definition. Whatever it is, it doesn't make any difference, provided these components are incorporated and each ecosystem, each destination must have it's own definition. That's my definition. An ecolodge is a fundamental thing, because people have to sleep somewhere. It's the place where people stay, the place that is going to be base for experiencing and getting to know these ecosystems and these cultures. So it is very important that the ecolodge also incorporates the components of this definition.

Q: What message would you like to give people?

A: What I think is very, very important is that before you take a trip, learn as much as possible about the destination, about the environment, the ecosystem, and the people who live there. Don't come with misconceptions. Try to get the real information, the real truth, and never forget that every coin has two sides exactly the same size but with different points of view. So no prejudices, just come and try to interpret your experiences and learn from the local people and respect their point of view.

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