Growth of Development? Analysis of the resorts policy of the state of São Paulo, Brazil

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This research uses the resort city of Atibaia as a case study to assess the resorts policy of the state of São Paulo, taking into account the new governance scheme triggered by Law 1.261/2015 which empowered Local Tourism Councils (COMTURs) as deliberative organizations. Therefore, the paper employs discourse analysis to reveal connections between actors and their social context, considering a literature review that suggested a dominance of hegemonic groups in decision-making organizations. Moreover, this research also uses spatial analysis to acknowledge the outcomes of the resorts policy in the case study city, combining data about social vulnerability and number of residents in order to check if the projects financed by the resorts-funds affect areas which are occupied by the majority of the population or the most vulnerable ones, which would imply a sustainable approach for tourism, involving groups of different backgrounds and social conditions. The research showed that organized members of the private sector dominate and influence the outcomes of the resorts policy, which so far prioritized central, consolidated areas in the city. This situation is aggravated by a low participation of citizens in the council, compromising a desirable plurality. Yet, rural tourism emerged as a practice which can combine business opportunities with well-being for people from the periphery
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