Salvador de Bahia is known as Brazil’s ‘capital of happiness’, whose ethnically-diverse inhabitants are proud of their cultural diversity, and share this through their creativity and heritage. The city’s annual street carnival is the largest worldwide, and the city hosts numerous outdoor cultural events throughout the year. Similarly, the city’s image has been branded with an understanding of the value of urban heritage and culture for tourism.
The Historic Centre of Salvador de Bahia, a UNESCO World Heritage property, was the subject of one of the country’s most ambitious urban renovation projects beginning in the 1990s, involving significant government funding and resulting in the recovery of many deteriorating and abandoned buildings. Tourism experiences imported from Europe and North America become a panacea for addressing urban degeneration issues, and formed the basis of strategies to revitalize the city’s core. Harnessing the model of cultural tourism, however, has proven to be a drawback, and today the key conservation issue for the city is recovering the historic centre from exclusively touristic use.
Source: Coimbra University, report for Study Area 8