When the World Cup begins on June 12, the international spotlight will be squarely on Brazil, providing an extraordinary global platform to showcase the country’s unique offerings to potential visitors. Although tourism prospects are positive throughout Latin America, new research published in a special issue of Worldwide Hospitality and Tourism Themes asserts tourism must be directly linked to local communities to tackle the region’s grim reality: an estimated 68 million people living in extreme poverty.

Dr. Robertico Croes, professor and chair of the Department of Tourism, Events & Attractions at UCF’s Rosen College of Hospitality Management, served as guest editor of the special issue, “How might tourism contribute to poverty reduction in Latin American countries?” to investigate tourism development challenges in the region.

Dr. Croes gathered a team of researchers with expertise in Latin America and the Caribbean to demonstrate how economic and social forces impact the relationship between tourism and poverty reduction in Latin American countries.  The issue contains seven articles on topics ranging from the challenge of managing resources at cultural sites like Machu Picchu and Cuzco in Peru, to reflections on archaeology, poverty and tourism in the Bolivian Amazon.

“Most studies assume that the benefits from tourism will just spread to the poor, but mixed results suggest the link is not automatic,” said Dr. Croes. “We need small but powerful solutions with immediate and tangible results that percolate to the poor masses, such as job creation. This would lead to increasing self-confidence, motivation and recovery.”