By Jay Forte, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The interior of Rio de Janeiro state, referred to as “fluminense”, has seen cities attract more and more tourists during the Carnival season this year, with hotel occupancy rates higher than what the capital city of Rio has reported.
A survey conducted by the ABIH-RJ (Brazilian Association of Hotel Industry in Rio de Janeiro) shows there are already municipalities that register up to 95 percent of hotel occupancy, as is the case of Teresópolis, a city about an hour’s journey from the state’s capital city.
According to the state secretary of tourism, Nilo Sergio Felix, the movement of tourism to inland cities confirms not only the industries potential of the state, which attracts an increasing number of visitors, but also the effort of the municipalities to present a diversified program that interested different types of Carnival revelers.
So far, the state’s average hotel occupancy rate is eighty percent, yet officials are confident this number is going to increase as many people leave making reservations until the day before the Carnival holidays. Last week the occupancy in the city of Rio de Janeiro was only at 72 percent, far worse that anything in recent memory for the holiday.
Interestingly, according to the ABIH-RJ survey both the cities that promote specific events for Carnival, and those promoting restful destinations (and escaping Carnival celebrations), have received a great demand.
This is the case of Cabo Frio, which already registers ninety percent of rooms reserved , and the cities of the Agulhas Negras region, have reported 95 percent reserved, according to the secretary.
Cabo Frio and Arraial do Cabo emerge as the cities with a larger number of blocos during the four days of the Carnival festivities. According to the Municipal Secretariat of Tourism of Cabo Frio, the expectation is that about 700,000 people visit the city.
The beaches of Arraial do Cabo will be the point of concentration for the exit of the seventeen blocos of the municipality. The estimate is that 300,000 people will be there to celebrate during the holiday.
The tourist region of the Serra Verde Imperial, much sought after by those who prefer a quieter Carnival, also offers more lively for those interested.
In Nova Friburgo, for example, thirty blocos and four samba schools will receive the more than 24,000 visitors, according to prediction of the municipal secretary of Tourism.
American expatriate living in Nova Friburgo and editor-in-chief of Brasil Energy, Steve Yolen, shares, “Although there’s a cute, family-rated Carnival Parade down Nova Friburgo’s six-block-long main drag on Saturday night, most […] like to come to the city 150 km away up in the mountains to ‘escape’ the public hijinks.”
According to a government news source, the growth of the sector is a result of the actions of the Rio+3 Program, created by the Secretary of Tourism to publicize attractions of municipalities that are less than three hours from the capital.