After a record 12 months in 2018, Ceará tourism looks set for even better figures this year. Conversations between Chinese tour operators and Ceará tourism authorities are well advanced, new flights are on the horizon and Carnival promises more visitors and higher revenue. In foreign tourism alone, Ceará expects to welcome almost 28% more international visitors this year.
Chinese tourism for Ceará
Representatives from the Ceará tourism board are in advanced negotiations with three Chinese tour operators to open up a route from Shanghai to Fortaleza in the near future. The flight would travel via Paris using Air France services already in operation. As well as welcoming tourists from China to Ceará, Fortaleza Airport would act as a gateway to Brazil for them.
The three operators organise trips for some 200 million people a year via internet and traditional bookings. According to the Ceará authorities, Chinese tourists are most interested in nature – one of the main attractions in the state – and watersports.
To facilitate Chinese tourism, the Brazilian government would have to implement an electronic visa. This procedure, currently in place for tourists from many countries, is reportedly under consideration for China. Meanwhile, courses in mandarin are taking place in Ceará in preparation for the first Chinese visitors.
Big rise in Ceará tourism
The inauguration of the Air France/KLM/Gol Airlines flight hub in Fortaleza in May last year has turned the tables for tourism in the state. According to the Brazilian Aviation Authorities (ANAC in Portuguese), Fortaleza received 391,000 international passengers last year, the highest number ever. Almost a third of these (110,000) went to Ceará to kitesurf.
Ceará tourism authorities expect foreign tourists to number around 500,000 this year, an increase of almost 28%. The provision for 2020 is 600,000.
Madrid connects to Fortaleza
Air Europa start direct flights between Madrid and Fortaleza later on this year. The service will run two or three times a week. Tickets go on sale in the first half of March with flights operating from the summer. Air Europa will confirm the exact date of operations on confirmation of the delivery of the new Boeing planes.
Busy Carnival season
Ceará is about to enter one of the busiest times of the year, particularly for Brazilian tourists. Carnival takes place during the last week of February and first week of March and hotel occupancy already stood at over 70% in early February. Hoteliers expect hotels in Ceará to reach over 85% during Carnival.
Revenue from the event is expected to exceed R$380 million this year, up 5% on 2018. In preparation for the arrival en masse of Brazilian tourists, Fortaleza Airport will offer 33 additional flights during the first week of March. Gol Airlines will operate 29 of these, mostly from the Sao Paulo area.
(Source: Diario do Nordeste)