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Turismo social para famílias: benefícios e iniciativas

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Abstract

Introdução: O acesso ao lazer e férias é considerado um direito básico de qualquer ser humano, desde 1948, pela Organização das Nações Unidas (ONU, 1948). Este direito está associado ao reconhecimento de que o lazer e férias poderão proporcionar um conjunto considerável de benefícios. Neste contexto, todos os indivíduos, incluindo os menos privilegiados da sociedade, têm direito a tempo de lazer, e o Turismo constitui uma expressão prática desse direito. O turismo tem-se vindo a assumir como uma dimensão da vida da maioria dos cidadãos sociedade atual. Registe-se que em 2012 o número de chegadas a nível internacional atingiu os 1.035 milhões de turistas, e prevê-se que em 2013 este número aumente entre 3 e 4% (UNWTO, 2013). Apesar do direito a férias e lazer ser considerado um direito básico do ser humano, e de serem inúmeros os benefícios reconhecidos para o indivíduo que ocupa este tempo de lazer com atividades turísticas, o turismo não é um produto acessível a todos os elementos da sociedade. A máxima, muitas vezes referida, “turismo para todos”, está longe de ser uma realidade. Existem diversos tipos de constrangimentos à prática de turismo, sendo um dos principais de cariz financeiro (Crawford et al., 1991; EESC, 2006; Hall & Brown, 2006). Grupos sociais desfavorecidos, indivíduos e famílias de baixos rendimentos não dispõem de recursos que lhes permitam usufruir da prática do Turismo. A oferta de programas de turismo social facilitaria o acesso a esta atividade por parte destes grupos sociais desfavorecidos. De facto, o turismo social tem merecido especial atenção por parte dos governos em alguns países (exemplo: Portugal e Espanha) e por parte de certas organizações internacionais (International Social Tourism Organization - OITS). No entanto, as iniciativas que têm sido desenvolvidas neste âmbito são, ainda, em número muito limitado, existindo um grupo considerável de pessoas para quem a prática de atividades turísticas ainda continua a ser um sonho. No contexto atual, com o número de famílias carenciadas a aumentar e o financiamento público no âmbito de políticas sociais a diminuir em vários países, como é o caso de Portugal, é fundamental analisar os efeitos gerados por programas de turismo social, tanto para os seus participantes como para as regiões que envolve. Este capítulo pretende apresentar os potenciais benefícios associados à dinamização de Programas de Turismo Social para famílias economicamente carenciadas, identificar iniciativas já existentes neste domínio e refletir sobre os desafios que se colocam a esse tipo de iniciativas. Assim, a secção que se segue começa por definir turismo social e abordar a problemática dos benefícios que as famílias economicamente carenciadas podem retirar da prática de atividades turísticas. A terceira secção apresenta alguns programas existentes para famílias economicamente carenciadas em países com tradição em termos de turismo social, incluindo-se o caso de Portugal. O capítulo termina com uma reflexão crítica em termos de alguns desafios que se colocam no domínio das políticas sociais para que o turismo para famílias economicamente carenciadas deixe de ser apenas um sonho e passe a ser uma realidade.

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