2021 will go down as the year with the lowest key celebrations for carnival in Brazil in recent history. But despite the quieter carnival, it’s still one of the busiest holiday periods on the Brazilian calendar. This year, the preference is for beach destinations and as a result, Fortaleza and Ceará top the rankings.
A different kind of carnival in Brazil
Covid-19 restrictions mean that this year’s carnival will look entirely different throughout Brazil. Many cities have cancelled the celebrations completely. They include Rio de Janeiro and Bahia, hosts of the world’s most flamboyant and colourful parades and costumes.
Nevertheless, the week-long holiday in mid-February remains a key fixture in the calendar and many Brazilians plan to take a break. This year, beach destinations take centre stage for preferences as do locations offering health and safety guarantees.
In a report published by the travel portal CVC, Fortaleza is the Brazilian’s top destination for carnival this year. Porto Seguro in Bahia takes second place with two other locations in Northeast Brazil (Natal and Macéio) completing the top five.
Fortaleza and Ceará regularly feature as top holiday favourites, particularly for visitors from Sao Paulo and Brasilia. In 2020, the state’s quieter beach destinations such as Flecheiras in Trairi rose in popularity.
Beach and security
The Sao Paulo State Tourist Board (Conselho do Turismo da Fecomercio-SP) carried out a survey in November last year on holiday must-haves for Brazilians. At the top of their priorities were health and security.
53% of those interviewed said they choose destinations with established health and safety protocols. Ceará is one of them – in October 2020, the state received the WTTC Safe Travels Seal, a stamp that guarantees that Ceará conforms with international covid-19 protocols.
The survey also revealed that the majority of interviewees planned to travel within Brazil. And that their preferred destination was the beach.
Staycations in 2021
2020 was the year that Brazilians ‘discovered’ Brazil and this year looks set to follow a similar pattern. Staycations will continue to feature as the preferred type of holiday throughout the year.
“We forecast that domestic travel will continue to increase in 2021, following the trend taken up in July last year,” said Daniela Bertoldo, Director of CVC. “In January, for example, 90% of enquiries and bookings were for destinations in Brazil.”
In tandem with the preference for staycations in quieter resorts, self-catering accommodation has become more popular. The need to social distance yet share quality time with family and friends means holiday lets are highly sought-after. This in turn enhances the potential for buy-to-let property investment in Brazil, particularly in quality beach destinations.