São Paulo seeks to increase the arrival of international travelers

In an exclusive interview, the Secretary of Tourism and Travel Roberto de Lucena reviews the current situation and advances the initiatives they are putting into practice

(Source: Alan Morici )

There is investment in national fairs to transform them into international ones, at the same time that the richest state in Brazil is present in tourism business fairs abroad.

In this interview Lucena mentions the cultural diversity of the capital of São Paulo, halal religious tourism – Islamic, Jewish, Catholic, Evangelical, among others. She talks about actions to welcome and promote LGBTQIAPN+ tourism , good accessibility and sustainability practices.

Roberto de Lucena also talks about the multidisciplinary working group to recover the center of São Paulo, the largest city in Latin America, based on the projects of a previous administration: Municipalities of Tourist Interest and Taste of SP, and others that are about to jump. such as: Portal da Mata Atlântica Tourist Districts, Nautical Tourism and State Rural Tourism Program.

Watch the exclusive interview for Travel2Latam below:

- What campaigns has the Secretary of Tourism and Travel of the State of São Paulo carried out to promote SP abroad?

With the expectation of receiving 2.3 million foreign tourists in 2023, the State of São Paulo will expand the promotion of its tourist destinations abroad. The objective is to increase the presence of international travelers in the State to participate in fairs, conferences and leisure activities. We are always present at the largest tourist events in the world, to promote São Paulo as a destination with an environment conducive to business and opportunities, including international fairs and events of great relevance to the tourism sector. In total, there are 37 events, 28 national and nine international.

In 2023, Setur-SP has already participated in six fairs and events in the international market: Fitur Madrid and Madrid Fusión (Spain); Anato Vitrine Turística (Colombia); BTL Lisbon (Portugal); ITB Berlin (Germany); and the Gol Roadshow takes you to Brazil (Uruguay and Argentina). Three more are scheduled for this year: Fit América Latina (Argentina); WTM London (England); and the Annual Conference of Ustoa (United States), as well as roadshows in England, Spain, Portugal and Chile in alliance with SPCVB.

In the national market, Setur-SP participated in 19 events and participation in another 14 fairs and events that will take place from August to November is still on the agenda. We also have 10 roadshows in conjunction with the SPCVB and the Municipality of São Paulo in Brasilia, Goiânia, Belo Horizonte, Belém, Fortaleza, Recife, Salvador, Porto Alegre, Curitiba and Rio de Janeiro.

We have participated in the largest events with visitors and exhibitors from all over the world, professionals from the tourism, hospitality, transportation, entertainment and specialized press interested in destinations, hotels, operators, airlines, event service providers, technology providers and companies. . .destination and travel management.

We are participating in multi-product fairs, aimed at the most diverse segments, especially leisure, as well as MICE, business tourism fairs, aimed at attracting events and attracting investments. São Paulo has great competitive advantages as it is the air hub of Latin America, connecting us with the whole world. In addition to good roads to go to the interior and the coast, we have a great diversity of tourist offers located in the rural and religious sectors. , nature, adventure, culture, theme parks, wellness segment, which has great potential to attract greater tourist demand. We choose the markets that have the greatest adherence to São Paulo products and send a considerable volume of tourists here, such as Spain, Portugal, Germany, England, Italy, Argentina, Colombia and the United States.

The issue of marketing in tourism is a fundamental activity and increasingly so in the tourism sector. Tourists are increasingly demanding and competition for them is fiercer. The State of São Paulo has already launched a brand and carried out an important campaign. A strategy is now needed to maintain and develop the image and knowledge of the state's attractions.

We have a well-targeted digital campaign underway, bringing more knowledge to potential tourists and also encouraging domestic tourism. In addition, we published a call to encourage entities that want to publicize the attractions of the state to use the same campaign, enhancing the message.

- Since the beginning of history, São Paulo has always had a lot of foreign presence: during the two world wars, immigrants from all over the world arrived in the capital and other cities in the interior. In recent years, many refugees have arrived, Africans, Venezuelans, Syrians, Afghans and many others. How would you describe the perspective of tourism within the capital that has so many influences?

The capital of São Paulo, with its 11.4 million inhabitants, is a portrait of the world. from Spain. There are also immigrants who came from different regions of Brazil to live here. All this allowed the evolution of a mixed and differentiated society that enriched this important municipality, whether in architecture, gastronomy, arts in general, with the uses and customs of families from so many other places on earth.

For this reason, exploring São Paulo is always a pleasant activity, with very diverse attractions and gastronomy, for example, is one of our biggest stars, since it is possible to find examples of cuisine from different corners of the world. The couscous of the Northeast, the esfihas of the Arabs, the polpetone of the Italians, the pastel de Belém of the Portuguese and the termita na teja of the bandeirantes are just some examples that show the success of São Paulo cuisine.

SETUR promotes inclusion policies aimed at valuing and raising awareness about topics such as religious tourism, with training and promotional materials linked to halal tourism – Islamic, Jewish, Catholic, Evangelical, among others. It also works with LGBT tourism actions, accessible tourism and sustainability.

- The capital of São Paulo, like any well-developed metropolis, has strong points in culture, gastronomy, shows and festivals. How has it been managing Cracolândia in the main tourist attractions of downtown São Paulo? There is a mini Cracolândia at the gate of ground zero of the city, which is the Pátio do Colégio.

The SP Government is in a multidisciplinary, strategic and inter-secretariat working group for the recovery of the SP Center. We have already taken important steps, increasing the number of Military Police and we have a plan to create the first urban tourist district in the State in the most vibrant region of SP: the historic center. Anhangabaú already offers countless activities to the population and we see an increase in real estate developments and new services in the region. The Center of São Paulo, without a doubt, is a great asset of São Paulo tourism and has a lot to offer tourists.

- You define yourself as a writer and pastor, you are a federal representative, but you were state tourism secretary in 2015 and 2016 and now you have returned in this new administration. What projects have you had the opportunity to continue?

During my first time at Setur (Secretary of Tourism), I was Secretary of Tourism between 2015 and 2016. At that time we started the movement throughout the state of São Paulo to implement the law and create Municipalities of Tourist Interest. With the support of the Alesp deputies we were able to vote on the complementary Law 1261/2015, which defines the basic requirements for a city to become an MIT and access State resources to invest in tourism development. Today we have 140 cities considered MIT.

Under this new management, we rescued Sabor de SP, the largest Gastronomy Valorization program in São Paulo, and expanded the number of gastronomic routes from 7 to 10 to energize the sector. There will be 10 festivals focused on regional cuisine, in which 300 cities will participate. Another action that we continue is the Itinerant Cabinet, which aims to present the programs and actions of Setur-SP and respond to the demands of the municipalities of São Paulo. Even this year we have other programs to launch, such as Nautical Tourism.

We have other programs that are about to be launched this semester, such as: the creation of the Portal da Mata Atlântica tourist districts, in alliance with Votorantim. It will be the fifth tourist district launched by the department; and the tourist district of Downtown São Paulo, the first urban tourist district in the state.

In addition, a Nautical Tourism program with the inauguration of nautical structures in 13 tourist municipalities in the state; launch of the State Rural Tourism Program, scheduled for October, which includes promotional actions with alliances with Senar/Faesp/Sebrae, among others.

We are also working with Railway Tourism, which will provide Tourism in the State of São Paulo with an important component for its development along with the local and regional attractions of the Municipalities and adjacent areas, directly impacting the segment as an investment inducer and structuring entity. , promoting through these, the promotion, increase in tourist flow, income and employment.

- On the gastronomic route, you are very close to the producers, developed rural tourism, gastronomy, wine tourism and promoted São Paulo cachaça. Has this made people travel more within the State, has it generated savings for the interior? How has this Sabor de SP gastronomic route campaign been?

Rural tourism is an example of how the activity can generate employment and income throughout the state, respecting the variety of destinations and cultural diversities and valuing local production, encouraging greater consumption of products made in the region. It is a segment that has grown after the pandemic, when mental health and well-being were valued more. These are cities and properties that produce wine, cheese, coffee, cachaça or typical food that make this experience special. In addition to gastronomy, rural tourism provides contact with nature.

Following this reasoning, we are running, until March 2024, the largest gastronomy program in the state, Taste of São Paulo. Two stages have already been carried out: in Campinas and Ribeirão Preto; Eight other regions will also be covered. Sabor de SP aims to value regional gastronomy, promoting producers and mapping Tourist Routes, promoting businesses and enabling direct meetings between suppliers and consumers.

The program has helped encourage visits to rural properties, farms, restaurants and food establishments that previously had little visibility. When these producers participate in festivals, events and actions, the intention is to encourage visitors to learn about the product and then visit these destinations, so that they visit the attractions of the gastronomic route, stay in the city and have the opportunity to learn about what the region has to offer, in addition to its cultural, environmental and monumental offering.

The initiative also encourages great chefs and restaurant and hotel chains to buy local products from these producers, beginning to value what they have in the state, and this gives a turn to the economy and improves the income of these people, creates employment and raises the level of self-consumption. esteem of those who work in the field and who work in the food sector. The intention is to transform food culture, encourage the consumption of local producers and sustainable and healthy eating. All through gastronomic tourism, which increasingly seeks more authentic experiences.

- You are from Santa Isabel, a 211-year-old city. What was done there to develop local tourism?

It is a great pleasure for me to be part of the history of the Municipality of Tourist Interest of Santa Isabel, I was there recently celebrating the city's anniversary with a program that rescued local culture, promoting sports and great shows. Santa Isabel, which is part of the Nascentes do Tietê Tourist Region, has an exuberant nature with a vocation for various segments of Tourism. 

Santa Isabel is located in the metropolitan region of the State between Alto Tietê and Vale do Paraíba. Its visitors are attracted by Rural, Gastronomic, Adventure and Ecotourism Tourism. In addition, it is part of the Nascentes do Tietê tourist region, of impressive natural beauty and is the National Capital of Comics, in honor of our beloved Mauricio de Sousa, creator of Turma da Mônica and born in the city.

The region also includes the Tietê Hot Springs in Salesópolis and its rural restaurants and farms producing honey and other products. Next to Guararema, Biritiba Mirim, Arujá and others with great tourist potential.

-What destinations do you like to visit in the state of São Paulo, in your free time?

 As a secretary, I travel throughout the state ensuring there are countless destination options for our visitors to discover. Everything will depend on the type of experience the tourist wants to live. We have municipalities with nature tourism, such as Vale do Ribeira with more than 350 caves, as well as trails and waterfalls, others for practicing sports such as rafting, canoeing or a balloon ride in places like Brotas, Socorro and the Ecotourism Pole. in the capital of São Paulo. The more than 600 km of beach, from the most urbanized to the quietest, our coffee, tea, fruit, sugar cane and winery farms. As well as the historical and cultural wealth resulting from this integration of immigrants, migrants and São Paulo residents who form diverse traditions. www.turismo.sp.gov.br

Interview: Mary de Aquino

Photo: Alan Morici 

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