Tourism in Northeast Brazil stands to benefit hugely from the continuing strength of the US dollar. The high exchange rate favours domestic tourism and international visitor figures, both setting record levels for holidays in Northeast Brazil, particularly in Fortaleza and Ceará.
This year has seen a spectacular rise in the US dollar exchange rate against the Brazilian real. Levels reached one of the highest ever in mid-September when the US dollar was trading at almost 4.5 Brazilian real. The rate has a double advantage for tourism in Northeast Brazil, already one of the most popular destinations for a holiday in Brazil.
With a pricier dollar, Brazilians are more inclined to holiday at home. The rise in the so-called ‘staycations’ is already apparent. In the latest monthly government survey, 78 per cent of interviewees planning to travel over the next six months said that they would be holidaying in Brazil. This is one of the highest percentages for the last five years and a clear indication of how it’s cheaper to stay in Brazil than go abroad.
In terms of location, the majority earmarked Northeast Brazil as their favourite holiday destination. 44.9 per cent Brazilians said they would be choosing this part of the country for their next holiday, well ahead of the 30.7 per cent who selected the southeast, the next most popular place.
The high dollar also favours the international market and Ceará is currently experiencing a big influx of foreign visitors. In the first half of this year, some 137,000 foreigners took a holiday in Ceará, a 21 per cent increase on the same period in 2014. Based on this tendency, state tourism authorities are predicted 278,000 international visitors by the end of this year.
Proof of the high visitor numbers comes in occupancy levels in hotels in Fortaleza, the state capital. Thye’re having a particularly good year with occupancy reaching 81 per cent in September, due in part to the big success of the Ceará Events Center. The number of events hosted so far this year has gone up by 35 per cent with 35,000 attendees in September alone.
“The Ceará holiday market is very hot,” said Valdo Mesquita, head of research at the Ceará Tourist Board, commenting on the latest figures. “The tourism sector has not been affected by the crisis because people are holidaying within Brazil. In Ceará, we’re looking at a very favourable scenario.”
Foreigners choosing to visit Ceará have an increasing choice of direct flights to Fortaleza Airport from several European and American destinations. Ceará authorities are currently in advanced negotiations with the Chinese Hainan Airlines to offer a flight to Fortaleza from China with one stop-off (in Lisbon) instead of the current two. This will greatly enhance the appeal of holidays in Northeast Brazil among the Chinese market.
Ceará has just exhibited at the annual ABAV Expo International, the largest tourism fair in Latin America and the southern hemisphere. The Ceará stand showcased beaches in the area such as Jericoacoara, Flecheiras, Canoa Quebrada and Cumbuco, famed as some of the best beaches in Northeast Brazil. Held in Sao Paulo, the event welcomed over 32,000 visitors and over 1,100 hosted buyers.
Source: Ceará government and tourist board