Ceará consistently ranks as one of the top destinations for a holiday in Brazil and state authorities want this part of Northeast Brazil to reach even higher. Plans revealed in early October show Ceará tourism has big investment and expansion plans for the next few years.
The Northeast is already one of the favourite Brazilian holiday spots and accounts for 30 per cent of income from tourism in Brazil. Within the state of Ceará itself, tourism makes up over 11 per cent state GDP and employs almost 180,000 people. In the 12 months to October this year 9,000 new jobs were created in the tourism sector in Ceará, the highest number in Northeast Brazil.
High visitor figures
Figures for tourism in Ceará are impressive. Over the last year, the state has welcomed over 3 million tourists of which 273,000 were foreigners. This translates into earnings in excess of R$10.9 billion. The overwhelming majority of tourists opt for Fortaleza and the Ceará beaches as their holiday destination.
State authorities predict that tourism in Ceará will grow markedly over the next five to eight years. To this end, the state has been making major investment in tourism infrastructure by means of two major programmes.
The largest in terms of investment funds is known as Prodetur and focuses on the development of tourism on the eastern coastline and beaches in Ceará. It includes the expansion of Aracati Airport, the conversion of two major roads into dual carriageways and the modernisation of Bondinho de Ubajara national park. Prodetur has a total investment of over US$207 million.
The second programme, Proinfur, aims to improve tourism infrastructure on the western coastline. This area is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in Northeast Brazil. Specific action within Proinfur includes the recuperation and regeneration of lakes and dunes on the coastline, the building of an airport at Jericoacoara and continued conversion of the main CE-085 highway into dual carriageway. The Proinfur budget runs to US$160 million.
Ceará is also upping its marketing over the next few months in the bid to attract more holidaymakers to this part of Northeast Brazil. Advanced negotiations are underway for new international flights connecting Fortaleza with two more South American capitals, Lima and Santiago. This is in addition to Fortaleza Airport’s position as one of the favourites to become the TAM hub in Northeast Brazil.
December to February is high season for holidays in Brazil and during these months, Ceará tourism authorities plan a major presence in Brazilian media and in shopping centres, particularly in Sao Paulo, one of the state’s key domestic markets. As from December, seven extra domestic flights will connect Fortaleza Airport with Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Cuiaba, Belo Horizonte and Belem on a weekly basis. Tourism in Ceará will also have a stand as major international tourism fairs such as those coming up in London, Las Vegas and Barcelona.
State authorities believe Ceará tourism has many strong points. These include the region’s unspoilt coastline and stunning natural surroundings as well as sporting and ecotourism activities. The state is also home to Geopark, situated in the south of the Ceará and the only one in Latin America.
Tourism in Fortaleza has two particularly strong pillars of its own: the Conference Centre and the Aquarium. In the three years since it was built, the Fortaleza Conference Centre has gone from strength to strength, particularly during this year when attendance has risen by 9 per cent. The Centre now represents a major source of income for hotels in Fortaleza, particularly during the lower tourist season. The Fortaleza Aquarium, due to be finished in 2017-18, has sparked major interest from Chinese investors and is expected to become one of the area’s biggest tourist attractions when it opens.
Source: Ceará Tourist Board