Natal Brazil

Information about the city of Natal, in Brazil.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Tourism in Natal lower than expected

July is considered a high season month for the tourism sector in Natal. Children take a winter break, and many people travel to the Northeast of Brazil escaping from the cold weather of the South.

However, Tribuna do Norte published an article today where hotel owners inform that the sector is facing a crisis, and about 30% of the work force (6,000 people) have been laid off recently. The original article is here.

A few factors are known to have caused a decrease in the tourism flow: the World Cup (many people stayed home to watch the Cup, and many others preferred to buy a plasma TV instead of travelling); the crisis of Varig, the largest Brazilian air liner, which is facing an eminent bankruptcy; the strong Real (the dollar rate is about US$1=R$2.20, and at this rate it may be cheaper to go from São Paulo to Miami or Buenos Aires than to come to Natal); the bad weather.

Hotel owners say that the State Government is to blame; the Syndicate of Hotels say that there has not been enough marketing of the city in other States and other countries; they also notice that there have been four Secretaries of Tourism over the past four years, showing a lack of consistency in the politics.

However, it is interesting to notice what the readers of the papers have to say (at the bottom of the article, readers may post their opinions).
Most of the posters, both from Natal and other Brazilian States, say that the hotels in Natal are expensive, the prices in restaurants are high, the staff is not prepared, there is lack of signalization and information.

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