Within the framework of the event specialized in tourism MICE, IMEX in Frankfurt 2023, Travel2latam had the opportunity to talk with Thiago Marques, Marketing Coordinator of Ceará, a Brazilian State that individually presents its attractions and capacity to host events and conventions.
Why is Ceará promoted in a specific way beyond Brazil?
Brazil is a well-known destination by all at the country level, but a large part of the tourists who go to visit it think first of Rio, Amazonia, Iguazú and at the most Sao Paulo or Bahia, and what happens is that in the Ceará State it develops Tourism, especially international tourism, is very fast, and we believe that so that people can better see the options we have, it is better to have their own space. Thus, those interested can know a little about the beauty of the beaches, hotels, most important points and spaces for meetings that we have in Ceará. So, we like to say that the problem is not one of infrastructure or connectivity, but of ignorance, which is why we are in a space like this that gives much more results for our tourism.
What are the differential characteristics of Ceará in relation to other better known places in Brazil?
First we can start with connectivity, we have direct flights to Fortaleza Airport from Europe, the United States (Miami, Orlando) and from Buenos Aires, Argentina; and they are fast flights that take only 6 or 7 hours, since, for example, Lisbon - Sao Paulo, one of the most traditional points in Brazil, takes 3 to 4 hours more.
And as for the city, the people are extremely receptive, we love receiving all Latin American tourists and making them feel as if they were at home. The places are also super beautiful, we have summer all year round with a wonderful sunny climate of 28 or 30 degrees, the water is super warm on all the beaches. We have sand formations with small lagoons to take tours with special cars called buggies.
Ceará has a very diverse tourism that can be enjoyed by a group, families, seniors, children, couples, honeymoons and of course young people who want to party. In Fortaleza we have many parties and a great infrastructure on the beach, so there is something for everyone.
What is the capacity of the hotel infrastructure?
We have many regional hotel chains, but also hotels with international levels and standards, so there is an offer of well-known and luxury brands, and also smaller boutique hotels with more personalized services, where the guest is not only a room number, but also a person called by name. But of course we also have large resorts and hotels, in fact we are building a Hard Rock Hotel of the American chain, which will be ready next year and we also have a chain called Carmel, of luxury hotels, so we are very well positioned in hospitality.
MICE Tourism is a corporate combination with relaxation. Are you prepared to receive this segment?
Yes, today in Fortaleza we have one of the best convention centers. The largest events center in Brazil is in Sao Paulo, the second in Rio, and the third in Ceará, located in Fortaleza. Our center is in fact the newest, so if you compare the quality of the infrastructure and the size, I think that the one in Fortaleza is the largest in Brazil today. We have a space of 170 thousand square meters, and there you can perform from concerts to small meetings in smaller auditoriums. In addition, it is located next to the best shopping center in the city and 10 minutes by car from the hotel zone, and added to this, we obviously have the meeting spaces of the hotels for minor events or conventions.
What does Ceará offer from a cultural point of view?
Ceará is a state in the northeast of Brazil, so we have a very rich culture where crafts are developed. It is a place where there is development of fishing, and in general we have on one hand the fishermen, and on the other their wives who are dedicated precisely to handicrafts, made for example with fish scales or sand from the beach. . Artisan is part of our culture as well as gastronomy in terms of seafood. All the beach cities have super fresh fish markets, and in addition, we have museums of photography and art, the Cathedral of Ceará, which is huge and very striking. There really is a lot to go and see in our state.
International tourism is strong in Fortaleza, does the same happen with domestic tourism?
Yes, Fortaleza is one of the cities that people from Brazil visit to have their vacations, for Sao Paulo or Rio it is one of the best known destinations. In the months of July, December or January, Fortaleza is full of domestic tourism Brazilians because it is a vacation destination within Brazil.
What is the connectivity with the LATAM regional market?
We have direct flights to Buenos Aires with Gol, our Brazilian company, and we had flights to Bogotá with Avianca since before the pandemic, but the company had a problem with Avianca Brasil and that is why we no longer have that flight, but only because of a problem from the company, since it was a full flight. We are also ready to arrange new connections with other Colombian companies because it is a destination from which we always receive many tourists. And also, we are doing a lot of promotion in America; in July, July and August we will be in Lima, soon also in Buenos Aires and Córdoba, in fact last March we were in Buenos Aires, Córdoba and Mendoza. So we are always doing promotion to invite people from South America to visit Ceará.