Débora Póvoa

It is the transition from an idea of a location to the actual experience of being in and transforming that location that I find fascinating.

Débora Póvoa

PhD Student Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication

Débora’s research
“Why does cinema make people travel? What impact does film tourism have in the locations where it takes place? How do locals, tourists, media producers and tourism entrepreneurs relate to each other? These are some of the questions that I attempt to answer with my PhD project, focused on the phenomenon of film tourism in Brazil.

Tourism is about exchange, communication, connection. It is about people, after all. And it is the human aspect of tourism that I am most interested in exploring: how tourism changes both tourists’ and locals’ routines and the spaces they cohabit. Besides understanding the tangible impact of tourism, I also investigate what moves people – how the imaginaries about a place created by movies and TV series encourage them to travel. It is this transition from an idea of a location to the actual experience of being in and transforming that location that I find the most fascinating aspect of the field of ‘Place, Culture and Tourism’.   

Tourism has long occurred in Brazil, and often in sensitive areas like the favelas. With little planning, sometimes this practice brings undesired consequences to local communities, such as gentrification. In the context of my research, this would be one of the biggest challenges of the tourism industry: to find a way of conducting tourism that is sustainable to both tourists and locals. By unfolding the power dynamics between the actors involved in the tourism business, I hope I can provide some answers to this.”

After the PhD
“After concluding my PhD, I plan on pursuing an academic career; in recent years, I really found my passion in doing research and teaching! However, I would like to combine my academic work with consultancy to tourism boards and governmental initiatives. Let’s see what the future holds!”

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