Tourism in Ceará started the autumn with record visitor figures and high hotel occupation. With the 2017/2018 cruise season underway and Fortaleza Airport set to start a major upgrade, everything points to an exceptional 2017 for tourism in the state.
Long weekend boosts tourism in Ceará
The 12 October, a national holiday in Brazil, offered Brazilians the chance to spend a long weekend in the sunshine. Over 70,000 people chose Ceará for their break , 27% more than the same period last year. Visitor figures weren’t the only statistics to increase. Revenue from tourism also rose to R$94.3 million over the weekend.
Hotel occupancy reached full capacity at most establishments in Fortaleza. The city’s average hovered over 90%. In destinations outside the capital occupancy stood at over 80%. Popular tourist spots such as Jericoacoara had even higher levels on a par with those in Fortaleza.
A major paediatric congress also took place over the weekend with over 7,000 participants from all over Brazil, particularly from Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo and Brasilia. It was the latest in a long list of high-profile events at the Fortaleza Congress Centre this year.
In the first seven months of the year, the Centre saw a 21.8% increase in its revenue. Figures for the year as a whole are expected to be considerably higher since August to November ranks as high season in the events industry. By December, some 70 events will have taken place at the Centre including several of the most important medical congresses in Brazil and a concert by the tenor José Carreras.
More passengers at Fortaleza Airport
Coinciding with the excellent figures for tourism in Ceará during the first long weekend of the autumn were statistics from Fortaleza Airport. Between the months of January and September, the airport received some 4.4 million passengers, 3.2% more than the same period in 2016. Numbers for September were particularly impressive with a year-on-year growth of 5%.
Things look very bright for Fortaleza Airport. The German company, Fraport, took over the concession earlier this year and has ambitious plans for expansion. In the first instance, the company will spend around R$600 million on airport upgrades. These include extending the terminal and lengthening the runway.
Benchmark in Latin America
Fraport is one of the largest airport management companies in the world and has the concession for 24 airports. These include Frankfurt, one of the busiest in Europe. Ceará authorities welcomed Fraport’s arrival in Fortaleza and believe the German know-how will do great things for the economy and tourism in Ceará.
At a recent press conference in Fortaleza, Fraport presented their slogan for Ceará: “Fraport has arrived. Now we can fly higher”. Company representatives announced their ambitious plans for the airport, which include doubling passenger numbers.
Fraport also plans to make Fortaleza Airport a reference point for Latin America. Helping reach this objective will be the forth-coming flights operated by Air France, KLM and Gol airlines. The alliance recently announced their decision to use Fortaleza Airport as their hub for Northeast Brazil. Direct flights between Fortaleza and Paris and Amsterdam start next May, a move that will undoubtedly boost tourism in Ceará.
“Expectations are that with Fraport managing the airport and the arrival of the Air France/KLM/Gol hub, passenger figures will rise even higher over the next few years,” said the state secretary for tourism, Arialdo Pinho at the press conference. “Ceará will become part of a worldwide hub.”
(Source: SETUR, state organisation for tourism in Ceará)