Tourism fest to showcase Arab destinations

08 de junho de 2016

São Paulo – Arab tourist destinations will be showcased during the Gramado Tourism Festival (Festuris), set to run from November 3 to 6 at Gramado Serra Park, in the namesake city located in Rio Grande do Sul state. According to the organizers, so far, two Arab airlines – Air Maroc and Emirates – have confirmed their participation, as well as travel agencies EGP and Lynden, which specialize in offering packages to Arab countries.

Festuris director Eduardo Zorzanello explains that having Arab countries in the festival is a step forward. “Four or five years ago, there was a slim chance we would reach the Middle East and Arab world,” Zorzanello says. Still, he would like to see the region represented in greater numbers, and to have the actual destinations advertise themselves at the festival. “They must make themselves known, and that is why we are going after them,” he says regarding the organizers’ efforts to bring Arabs to Festuris.

This year, the festival’s theme will be luxury tourism. Selected guests will be able to meet with luxury tourism exhibitors in facilities modeled after high-end accommodations. Zorzanello says there will be seven such exhibitors from places such as the Seychelles and the Turks and Caicos Islands. He believes Arab destinations like Qatar, Abu Dhabi and Dubai could fit the bill as well. There is space still available in the luxury area, according to the director.

But Zorzanello claims luxury is not the only feature that can attract Brazilian tourists to Arab countries, as is the case with Dubai; he also mentions the exoticism, the culture, the history and the natural beauty. As a case in point, he cites attractions such as Lebanon’s beaches and desert rides. “There is a slew of different situations that pique Western curiosity,” he asserts. The director regrets the fact that Arab countries often play second fiddle to the more hyped-up destinations, like Canada, Europe and the United States. 

This will be Festuris’ 28th edition and the theme was chosen because the luxury niche was one of the least affected by the economic crisis, according to Zorzanello. Although the industry is struggling, he expects to at least match last year’s visitor and exhibitor numbers. “This is the leading tourism industry business platform in Latin America,” says Zorzanello.

Buyers at the festival are often travel agencies or tour operators, with exhibitors also including tour operators, airlines, car rental companies, hotels, hostels etc. Last year’s edition featured roughly 2,500 exhibiting brands and welcomed 14,000 visitors. This year’s edition will have 400 stands in a 20,000 square meter area. Approximately 70% of space has already been sold.

The Festuris website reports that last year saw deals worth BRL 212 million, grossing BRL 14 million to the region in the process, according to a survey from Observatório do Turismo (Tourism Observatory) of the Federal Fluminense University. Besides the fair, the event also features a congress where relevant topics to the industry are discussed.

Quick facts
28th Festuris
November 3 to 6, 2016
Where: Gramado Serra Park
Rua Viação Férrea, 100 – Gramado – RS
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*Translated by Gabriel Pomerancblum