Ilha Grande, an exotic, natural island located in the Brazilian Atlantic Rain-forest off the coast of Brazil, has faced a series of challenges throughout history. However, the most serious threats to the sustainability of the island might be occurring now. From environmental threats such as increases in tourist visitation to invasive species and proximity to a nuclear plant to socio-cultural issues such as inequalities among residents and non-residents with regard to education, loss of culture, land use and well-being to economic issues such as lack of employment and income, Ilha Grande is at a crossroad in its opportunity towards sustainable development.

This island became a tourism destination only 20 years ago in 1995. As the 3rd most popular island destination in all of South America, Ilha Grande has the promise of a vibrant tourism industry because of its beautiful beaches, protected areas and biological reserves. This case study will outline the history of Ilha Grande and how tourism evolved despite the lack of infrastructure, over-development, lack of qualified personnel, overabundance of tourists who arrive by boats and by cruise ships, the encroachment of oil drilling in the bay and the proximity of Brazil’s two nuclear energy plants.

The Ilha Grande Green Map is a Pace University student project that aims to feature enterprises on the island that are more sustainable with regard to the environment, culture, society and economy.  Students interview and evaluate enterprises before posting on the Green Map. It is hope the Ilha Grande Green Map can encourage visitors to be more sustainable in their travels. 

Source:  Green, C. G. & M. Cohen.  (2015). Tourism in Ilha Grande: The Promises and Problems of Paradise.  Journal of the International Academy for Case Studies. 21(5)  : 87-93.