2018 was something of a boom year for Ceará tourism and 2019 looks set for more of the same for the state in Northeast Brazil. Visitor figures for high season and Carnival are already up on last year’s and Ceará has been present at the world’s largest tourism fairs.
Best high season ever
Latest figures from the Ceará tourism board, SETUR, point to the busiest high season ever for the state. According to provisional figures, over 1.16 million tourists visited Ceará between December last year and February this year, the high season for holidays in Brazil.
The figure represents an increase of 7.6% on visitors during the same period last year and a record for Ceará tourism. Hotel occupancy during the three months reached between 97.5% and 100% depending on the area and resort.
The Carnival period, which fell in early March this year, also broke new records. Ceará received around 133,500 visitors, a 4.2% increase on 2019. Revenue from Brazil’s favourite festival reached R$248 million in the state.
Ceará most sought-after in Brazil
The state’s year-round sunshine and warm temperatures make it a firm favourite with Brazilian holidaymakers, particularly from Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo. During the summer 2018/19 Ceará ranked especially high on the preference list.
According to SETUR, the state was the most sought-after in Brazil on several online holiday portals. Ceará stood as the number one search for January holidays on Kayak, Trivago and Voopter. A Trivago report also found that Fortaleza ranked as the third cheapest destination in Brazil for the summer.
Impact of airport hub on Ceará tourism
One of the main factors behind the sharp increase in visitor figures comes in the Fortaleza Airport hub. SETUR calculates that it has had an impact of 0.79% on the Ceará GDP and added R$1.05 billion to the economy since it started operations in May last year.
Passenger traffic for both domestic and international flights at Fortaleza Airport increased significantly between May and December, setting new records. SETUR estimates that the airport hub will create over 80,000 jobs, direct and indirect.
Presence at international fairs
The Ceará tourism authorities are making the most of the tourist boom. The state had a stand at the world’s largest tourist fair, the ITB in Berlin held in early March. It was the only Brazilian state with a separate stand.
The main objective was “to show foreign tourists what makes Ceará different,” said Livia Rolim, Marketing Coordinator at SETUR. Unique selling points in the state include its sandy coastline with some of the best beaches in Brazil and the excellent conditions for wind and kitesurf. Both sports are very popular among Germans, an emerging market for Ceará.
Brazilian tourism up
The tourist industry also experienced a big increase at national level. According to new figures released the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), tourism’s contribution to GDP in Brazil went up by 3.1% in 2018. Its revenue of US$152.2 billion represented 8.1% of total GDP. The sector employed some 6.9 million Brazilians last year, 7.5% of the workforce.
Commenting on the figures, the Minister for Tourism, Marcelo Alvaro, highlighted the changes brought in to boost tourism in Brazil. He underlined the importance of facilitating visas and improving flights connections so that it’s easier to travel around the country.