By Jay Forte, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – For many living in the state of Rio de Janeiro this week represents a long break as Tuesday, April 21st is a national holiday (Tiradentes) and on Thursday, April 23rd it is a state holiday celebrating São Jorge (Saint George). With schools and government offices shutting down, Cariocas are heading out of the city to vacation in the state’s many destinations, driving tourism business across the region.
According to a government report, during the holiday of Tiradentes (including the first weekend from April 17th to 21st), the occupancy increased to ninety percent in Costa Verde (Green Coast) and the Região dos Lagos (Lakes Region), up from the overall average of 79.64 percent.
During what is considered the holiday of St. George (the second long weekend from April 23 to Sunday, April 26th), the average demand for hotel rooms is 66.07 percent. In addition to the extended holidays, the Vale do Café (Café Valley) region is hosting the event Café, Cachaça and Chorinho (from April 17th to 21st) where it is reported the room occupancy rate is closer to 85 percent.
“The good performance of the hotel industry in the state is influenced by the presence of tourists from other cities of Rio de Janeiro and the capital, representing eighty percent of the guests, especially during the holiday of St. George. In addition, events such as the Café, Cachaça and Chorinho in the Vale do Café, helping to add to the occupancy and attract visitors” said the president of ABIH-RJ, Alfredo Lopes.
Costa Verde is the area running southwest between Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo and includes the most well-known destinations such as Paraty, Angra dos Reis and Ilha Grande. However, there are other, more hidden gems to be discovered, such as Itacuruçá, a small, unassuming town about one-and-a-half hours south of Rio by bus, or the small village of Trindade, 40 km south of Paraty.
The Região dos Lagos runs northeast of the city and includes well know destinations like Buzios, Cabo Frio and the more quaint Arraial do Cabo, yet there are also lesser-travelled places to explore in the area like Saquarema and Araruama. For the Secretary of Tourism, Nilo Sergio Felix, the boost of services in these smaller cities has helped increase tourism.
“The state is making a major campaign to promote the municipalities in the interior around Rio and tourists coming to the city of Rio. In parallel, we are conducting a series of actions and seminars in these regions in order to increase the quality of its services and tourist facilities,” Felix explains.