Historically, the imaginary surrounding Brazil has alternated between heaven and hell: if, on the one hand, the country is frequently compared to paradise for its natural beauty, on the other the violent reality of its most impoverished areas also makes headlines around the globe. Assuming that media products, namely Brazilian movies and telenovelas, are prominent propagators of such contrasting ideas for national and foreign audiences, this project examines how these visual discourses give rise to tourism flows across the country, and the ways in which they impact the tourist experience.
This study will examine in which ways the narratives articulated by these two genres are being appropriated by the tourism industry, with special attention to the phenomena of slum and soap opera tourism. Through the analysis of specific cases of film tourism in Brazil, e.g. tours to film and soap opera locations, this research will identify the main discourses propagated by such popular products, keeping in mind the common stereotypes about Brazil but, at the same time, looking for new and more complex representations of the country. Also, interviews with local stakeholders will be held in order to grasp some insights about the processes of identification with and interpretation of such visual articulations. Following the second line of inquiry of the project, it will also investigate, under a critical perspective, how the Brazilian tourism authorities are negotiating these imaginaries, and to which extent they are using them in their destination marketing strategies in an attempt to boost film tourism in the country. Lastly, this subproject will analyse not only the tourist experience when visiting film and soap opera settings, but also the importance of these media discourses for diasporic audiences, that is, Brazilian expats around the world, to gain a sense of belonging to their homeland.