João Pessoa courts tourism very carefully for it is one of the city’s biggest industries. However, it does so without sacrificing its devotion to the people who live there.
Millions upon millions of Reais have been spent over the last few years by the Mayor, Ricardo Coutinho and the results can be seen all around you. Not only with improvements in the infrastructure and the investment in the tourist facilities and Historic town centre.
Map showing tourist information offices.
Currently R$10m is being spent refurbishing the main squares and old port area and dozens of buildings have been earmarked for preservation. Better signage has also been provided for tourists and there are now walking routes round the city and its sights.
Snr Elzário Pereira Júnior, the Secretary of Tourism for the city of João Pessoa is also at the forefront of many initiatives involving the promotion of the city. It is due to his dynamic efforts, and those of his team, that the city is now seen as a guiding light in the field of tourism with its schemes and incentives. João Pessoa was recently selected to pilot a scheme to catalogue all the hotels and restaurants in the city with the aid of over 100 students from UFPB.
New laws demanding better access for people with special needs have been eagerly implemented and enforced. Special courses have been started up for the catering industry to enable restaurants to serve all tourists in a more efficient manner. You will also find there are permanent campaigns to help and assist the tourist.
The main Tourist Information Office is in Tambau Central Shopping Centre and only a few steps away from a 24-hour tourist police office with its own motorized units and cycle patrols.
João Pessoa is promoted by the Prefeitura (local council) as a family friendly destination and everything is being done to deter the sex tourist. Signs and literature in four different languages urge people to report anyone propagating this type of tourism.
But who comes to Joao Pessao? The Prefeitura recently (May 2009) published the following statistics:
• 93% of tourists love the Paraíbans
• 67.48% of tourists come as a family
• 96% will come back (no surprise there then) though 3% said they wouldn’t and 1% didn’t know or wouldn’t comment
• 97% said they would advise others to come here (still no surprise there)
• 38.8% of tourists are from the South of Brazil, the majority from SP and RJ
• 24.21% come from the Northeast
• 21.76% come from central-east.
Foreign tourists increased over one per cent from 4.19% to 5.38%
The most visited beach was Tambau beach followed by Cabo Branco and then Coquerinho (which was also voted the most beautiful).
The most visited areas were the artesanarto centre, historic centre, Jacare and the Science centre/Farol.
The average tourist spent R$1,198 during a two week stay
Snr Sergio Baltmore Airport Superintendent also reported earlier that the number of people passing through the airports gates had increased by 25%.
João Pessoa also hosts many conferences of all persuasions with as many as 20 taking place in the same week sometimes! However, people don’t just come here to meet they come here to get away. João Pessoa is an excellent starting off point to visit other parts of Paraíba and then come back to the relaxing beaches.
Paraíba boasts several climates ranges from semi desert to rainforest. Out in the interior you can take advantage of the many festivals including the “Winter Walks” and “Cachaça Trail” as well as the biggest Sao Joao festival in the world. João Pessoa itself has a continuous party period from the beginning of December to the end of February. Even the smaller towns like Areia and Bananeiras cater for tourists giving you a different perspective to life as it was in the northeast.
A special magazine has been published to try to let people know what is going on during the week but only this website is able to tell you what is going on through out the year.
Certainly, people come to João Pessoa for many reasons and equally certain is that they are not going to leave disappointed.