After an excellent start to the year, Ceará tourism continues on its upward trend. Record number of visitors arrived in the state during the Easter holidays and a new daily flight to Sao Paulo offers additional opportunities for tourists to access this part of Northeast Brazil, as this BRIC Group article explains.
Easter is traditionally one of the busiest holiday periods and this year in Ceará has proved exceptional for tourism. Almost 53,000 visitors chose Ceará for their Easter holiday in Brazil, a figure that is 5.4 per cent higher than the same period last year.
Slightly over half the visitors stayed in hotels in Fortaleza where the occupation rate reached 71 per cent. This rate was considerably higher in other parts of Ceará, especially along the coast as visitors flocked to some of the best beaches in Brazil. The resort of Canoa Quebrada topped the occupancy rankings with 90 per cent of its accommodation full over Easter. Jericoacoara and Guaramiranga were not far behind with 89 per cent each.
The Ceará tourism agency SETUR calculates that the Easter holiday period generated around R$61.8 million in direct revenue for the state. The agency pointed to the Iron Maiden concert in Fortaleza on 24 March as a major attraction and one of the reasons why many visitors chose to start their Easter holiday earlier in the city.
New flight between Fortaleza and Sao Paulo
The beginning of May saw the start of a new daily flight between Fortaleza and Sao Paulo, specifically to Congonhas Airport in the centre of Brazil’s financial capital. The flight that operates twice a day is run by Gol and joins the weekly flight offered by Avianca.
“This route makes travelling to Sao Paulo much easier because you arrive in the city centre,” said the Ceará tourism secretary Arialdo Pinho. “It also makes things easier for tourists coming to Ceará from Sao Paulo.”
Pinho highlighted Sao Paulo as “a major source of domestic tourism for Ceará” and that the new route is “vital to attract more visitors”. People from the city already account for the largest group of Brazilian tourists in Ceará with over a quarter of the total, which is double the number of holidaymakers from Rio de Janeiro.
Flight between Fortaleza and Portugal going strong
One of the flights to Fortaleza that has already brought thousands of tourists to Ceará is the daily service to Lisboa run by the Portuguese airline TAP. The flight has just celebrated 18 years of being in operation with some excellent passenger figures. Last year, 150,000 people travelled on the flight between Fortaleza and Lisbon, which translates to an average occupancy level of 80 per cent.
“We’ve always had a warm welcome in Fortaleza,” said TAP’s Brazilian director Mario Carvalho. “We’re convinced that Northeast Brazil will continue to attract the interest of European tourists.”
Pinho seconded this and pinpointed the huge importance the Fortaleza-Lisbon flight has had for tourism and the state’s economy. When the TAP flight started in 1998, just 220 businesses in Ceará had participation from foreign capital. By 2003 when the flight became daily instead of twice-weekly, the number had risen to 720. Last year, foreign capital was present in some 4,887 companies in Ceará.
“There’s a direct link between these figures and the TAP flight,” said Pinho. “It’s these airport connections that allow investors as well as tourists to come to Ceará.” According to SETUR figures, Portuguese tourists represent the second largest group of foreigners who come to Ceará with just over 20 per cent of the share.
“Since we started development of The Coral in Ceará we have seen a marked improvement in the number of flights to Fortaleza, particularly from destinations in Europe,” says Dies Poppeliers, Managing Director of BRIC Group. “The Fortaleza-Lisbon link has undoubtedly contributed hugely to the state’s progress and will continue to do so.”
An investment company specialising in global real estate opportunities, BRIC Group is currently developing The Coral resort, in Northeast Brazil, a luxury beachfront resort. BRIC Group also offers US real estate investments including turnkey properties in Florida and Houston, and land plots in Florida. BRIC Group has been creating wealth for its clients since 1996 and has offices in Brazil, Dubai (consulting office), Hungary, Spain and the US.