Fortaleza and Ceará are set for a big year for tourism in 2018. Not only has the state seen record visitor figures during the winter period; Ceará will gain new reach on the international scene with the many new flights from Fortaleza Airport this year. By the end of 2018, there will be direct flights to 11 cities around the world plus a further 8 via Paris.
For regional analysts, 2017 saw a new dawn for tourism in Fortaleza. The city’s international and domestic profile soared with two key events involving the airport. In March, the German company Fraport bought the airport management concession. The acquisition brought expertise know-how and investment in infrastructure to the tune of R$600 million.
On the back of the arrival of Fraport, in September Air France-KLM alliance chose Fortaleza Airport as their flight hub for Northeast Brazil. As a result, flights from Fortaleza Airport are set to multiple, bringing Ceará to the forefront of both international and domestic tourist connections.
New flights from Fortaleza Airport with Air France
The Air France-KLM alliance begins direct flights from Fortaleza to Paris and Amsterdam in May. Air France, operating through its partner company Joon, has just announced 13 flight connections between Paris and Fortaleza.
Travellers will therefore be able to fly from Fortaleza to Amsterdam, Bangkok, Barcelona, Frankfurt, Geneva, Lisbon, Madrid, Milan, Moscow, Rome and Shanghai. Some of these destinations are already available (see table below), but the planned Air France connections open up eastern Europe and Asia to flights from Northeast Brazil.
Flights went on sale for Air France flights from Fortaleza Airport in mid-January. Prices started at R$2,220 return, depending on the date of flight and the destination.
These flights join others planned for this year. Latam will operate a second service to Miami and start a weekly flight to Orlando. GOL too will be offering flights from Fortaleza Airport to Florida from November.
|Amsterdam||AirFrance-KLM||3 x week||May 2018|
|Buenos Aires||GOL||weekly||already operational|
|French Guyana||GOL||weekly||already operational|
|Panama City||COPA||2 x week||to be confirmed|
|Miami||LATAM||2 x week||1 already operational; May 2018|
|Miami||GOL||2 x week||November 2018|
|Orlando||LATAM||2 x week||July 2018|
|Paris||AirFrance-KLM||2 x week||May 2018|
|Cape Verde||TACV||3 x week||1 already operational; February 2018|
New domestic flights from Fortaleza Airport
Supporting the new flights to Europe and beyond, GOL has also announced an increase in destinations and frequencies to cities in Brazil. The Brazilian company will offer flights to Belem, Manaus, Natal, Recife and Salvador in addition to the cities already served. In total, GOL will increase its flights by 35%.
More tourists for Ceará
This winter has been a busy season for tourism in Ceará. The state is set to receive 825,000 visitors between mid-December and the end of January. This represents a 6.2% increase on the same period last year. Average visitor spending came in at R$2,500, which translates to R$2.1 billion in revenue for the state.
According to figures from the Ceará hotel association (ABIH-CE in Brazilian), 96% of visitors to Ceará are Brazilian holidaymakers. The new flights operated by GOL will allow more to visit the state.
The same applies to international visitors. State government authorities estimate that the Air France-KLM hub will lead to an increase of 40% in the number of foreign tourism to Ceará. The President of the ABIH-CE, Elisio Barros, said he believes that international tourism is set to grow as flights increase.
(Source: O Povo, SETUR)