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Living the Dream

Adventures in Brazils Atlantic Rainforest

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accessible torism

One Year On…

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We’ve now been in Brasil for a year. As was to be expected it has been a challenging but rewarding time. We arrived to find our house half eaten by cupim, the roof leaking badly, the water tower about to collapse, much of the land badly overgrown and then faced endless beaurocracy whilst trying to sort things out.

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However we have risen to all the challenges thrown at us and amongst other things built 5 chalets, 2 fossa’s, a water tower, a swimming pool, endless walls and fences, re-roofed the house, replaced cupim riddled house walls and windows, built paths, opened an English school, become part of the community and rescued Luna (our dog).

 

We’ve had the opportunity to learn a lot of new skills including: how to manage the forest, how to handle snakes, endless building skills, gambiarra, how to open an English school, the children have both become fluent in Portuguese, how  not to get too frustrated with how long it takes to get anything done, how to live with frequent and long power cuts and how  to really enjoy a much simpler and more basic lifestyle.

Our English school in Morretes opened this week and our Pousada – Pousada Serra Verde   

will be opening at the end of this month.

So we are pleased with our progress thus far and are really looking forward to year 2!!!

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The 3 F’s – Fossa’s, Frustration & Flowers!

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It’s been a hard couple of months at Serra Verde. Of all the problems we expected to have; I never dreamt that a hole that you put what the locals call ‘coco’ into would cause us so much headache! We need 3 and by all accounts have suffered from doing things correctly and so have been at the mercy of the local council, architects, engineers and not to mention the elements! We have even found an underground river flowing through one of our regulation 2 metre deep holes!

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The beaurocracy surrounding the septic tanks has also rather frustratingly meant we’ve had to build something the size of a nuclear bunker in concrete rather than the car tyre and banana tree eco option we had planned.

We’ve finally got one signed off, connected and working and hope the others will now be not far behind!

We’ve been told that we could drink the water at the end of the process – I’m all for recycling, but that’s a step too far!!! I’ll leave that for the orchids which are now starting to bloom.

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Work is Underway!

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It’s been a busy couple of months since we arrived at Serra Verde. We’ve worked hard to get the house watertight, which involved removing, cleaning and relaying thousands of roof tiles (we also got caught in a storm with no roof which meant the house and everyhing in it got soaked!). We’ve also had to replace a whole wall of the house that had been eaten by cupim (a small ant like insect that loves to feast on wood) and build a new water tower as the old one was unsafe!

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Despite these set backs and lots of hard work life is good. We’re finding that a simpler more basic existence is rewarding – limited internet, no branded retail/fast food chains within 50km and having to adjust your day to fit round natures timetable all help us to feel healthier an happier!

Work is now underway on turning Serra Verde into a Pousada….

Global Code of Ethics Moves Forwards

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The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) have finally made the important step of transforming the Code of Ethics for Tourism into an international convention. The conversion of the Code represents a significant step towards ensuring that the global tourism industry embraces the principles of sustainable tourism.

The Convention covers the responsibilities of all stakeholders in the development of sustainable tourism, providing an ethical framework within which to work.

Ethical Tourism

“In an interconnected world where the business volume of tourism equals or even surpasses that of oil exports, ‎food products or automobiles, it is important to set out a legal framework to ensure that growth is dealt with responsibly and that it can be sustained over time. Tourism is a power that must be harnessed for the benefit of all,” said the Chairman of the World Committee on Tourism Ethics (WCTE), Pascal Lamy.

The Code’s 10 principles cover the economic, social, cultural and environmental components of travel and tourism including:

  • Tourism should contribute to mutual understanding and respect between peoples and societies;
  • Tourism should be a key factor of sustainable development;
  • The right to tourism and freedom of movement to tourists;
  • The rights of the workers and entrepreneurs in the tourism industry;
  • Implementation of the principles of the Global Code of Ethics for Tourism;

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International Standard on Accessible Tourism to Become Reality

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The first working meeting for the development of an International Standard on Accessible Tourism for All was held in Madrid in February.

Representatives from the United Kingdom, Panama, Austria, Cyprus, Luxembourg, Portugal, Argentina, Malta, Canada, Ireland and Spain, and several key industry associations met to develop a global and universal international standard for accessible tourism under the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) framework.

The future standards will be called “ISO 21902 Tourism and related services—Tourism for all—Requirements and recommendations”. In terms of scope, the new standard will set clear guidelines for tourism planning and destination management170302-accessible-tourism

Márcio Favilla, Executive Director of the World Tourism Organisation stated that:

“Accessible tourism is the answer to everyone’s universal right to travel and discover the world. At the same time, it is an opportunity for the tourism industry to capture a global marketplace that includes millions of people with disabilities, seniors, families with young children and many others who encounter numerous barriers, both physical and cultural when travelling.”

The new standard is expected to be approved in 2018.

We at Serra Verde fully support this initiative and plan to have wheelchair friendly accommodation and trails in place by 2018.

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