After an excellent 2016, Ceará tourism has got off to an even better 2017. With record Carnival visitors and cruise ship arrivals, the state is also looking at a buoyant holiday rental market and a new airport.
The latest national holiday survey confirms that Northeast Brazil is the nation’s favourite place for a holiday. In the January survey carried out by the Ministry of Tourism, nearly half the Brazilians interviewed expressed their intention to travel to the Northeast over the next six months. The region has become known as the ‘Brazilian Caribbean’.
Northeast Brazil stands out well ahead of its nearest competitors, Southeast Brazil and the South. Both regions attract around 25 per cent of holiday intention.
Ceará tourism booms in Carnival
The survey also revealed that Ceará was the second most preferred destination in Northeast Brazil for Carnival after Bahia. This is particularly true for tourists from Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo and the Distrito Federal.
The state was expecting around 112,000 visitors for the Carnival celebrations, which came to their height during the last week of February. In terms of revenue, these figures mean R$140 million in direct revenue and R$230 million in income for Ceará tourism. They represent a 10 per cent increase on the 2016 Carnival season.
Accommodation occupancy during Carnival in Ceará was just below 85 per cent, although occupancy at Ceará hotels reached nearly 100 per cent in Fortaleza and the most popular resorts. Ceará holiday rentals also recorded excellent figures. According to the Ceará Tourism Board, the 1,200 registered holiday let properties in Fortaleza had an occupancy of around 84 per cent.
Ceará tourism will get a further boost later this year when Jericoacoara Airport officially opens. The small airport, located at Cruz, will open to domestic flights only in April with a flight between Jericoacoara and Recife operated by Azul.
Cruise tourism on the rise in Ceará
Cruise tourism is also on the rise in Ceará, a destination that is gradually making its mark on the international cruise circuit. February was a particularly good month for cruise ship arrivals at the Pecem terminal. In just one week, three ships docked with a total of nearly 5,000 visitors, mostly from the US.
In late February, the world’s oldest sailboat, the Norwegian Solandert, arrived at Mucuripe Port. Used as a training ship for the A+ World Academy, the Solandert intends to strengthen ties between Norway and Ceará in this first visit.
“We aim to make the state of Ceará a showcase for high-level partner clients,” said Marcos de Castro, the Norwegian honorary consul to the local O Povo newspaper. “We’re promoting interaction with the region at social, cultural and commercial levels.”
2016 excellent year for Ceará tourism
The latest figures for this year come on the back of excellent results for 2016 in the state. Ceará received over 3.24 million visitors, an increase of 5 per cent on 2015.
International tourism also rose and between January and November, some 100,000 foreigners visited the state, the highest figure ever creating a total revenue of R$302 million. Average spending per international visitor was R$3,023.
“The state is undoubtedly making its presence known on the Brazilian holiday destination map,” says Dies Poppeliers, Managing Director of BRIC Group. “After the excellent start to the year with the Carnival figures, we expect to see even better figures for Ceará tourism during 2017.”
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.
(Sources: SETUR, O Povo)