A local Convention & Visitors Bureau facilitates a safe return for Tourism, in Morretes, Brazil
It's been a difficult 12 months in southern Brazil. As well as dealing with the global pandemic, the area has been hit with flooding, drought and a cyclone! Covid-19 has now claimed over 114,000 fatalities, with 3.5 million cases, over 500,000 companies have closed and close to 8 million have lost their jobs. In this context it's not surprising that tourism isn't high on the political agenda. Morretes and the litoral have been particularly badly hit by movement restrictions and the closure of tourism - over 40% of the local population work in tourism.
Locally, tourism closed completely in March with physical barriers preventing visitors from entering the area. Since March the local tourism group, Morretes Convention & Visitors Bureau, has worked tirelessly with the local community, industry bodies and the council to plan and implement a safe return for tourism.
The Convention held regular meetings with the council and really paved the way to allow the council to partially re-open the town on 7th August. Actions included:
- Protocols and procedures written and agreed, drawing on national and international best practice.
- In the absence of any government numbers a study was completed to fully understand the number of people working directly and indirectly in tourism.
- A campaign to inform and help local business' educate their employees was conducted. This involved members of the convention visiting local business', talking to the owners and distributing educational best practice material on how to deal with Covid-19.
- A series of videos were made and released to both engage potential visitors and the local population (two of which are included here).
- A tracking system was sourced and implemented. This involves all guests registering on a website and being given a QR code which is required to pass the barriers.
- Reduction in visitor numbers and trading days down to 2 agreed.
The system is a long way from being perfect, but shows that a positive, pro-active approach to problems by the tourism industry can achieve results, even in the most difficult of circumstances.
The current decreto runs out this week and as we wait to find out what next weeks legislation brings, I feel that we can take heart from how we have faced the challenges thus far and as a collective, made significant progress in these difficult and unprecedented times.