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Nov 1, 2011

Tourism on the rise

Since 1994, the IDB has contributed to the creation of more than one million jobs by providing support during the different stages of the Tourism Development Program (PRODETUR)

The Inter-American Development Bank has made important contributions to the development of Brazil’s tourism industry since 2004 with its support for the Northeast Tourism Development Program (PRODETUR Nordeste I).

In cooperation with Banco do Nordeste (BNB), the program’s first stage was implemented over 10 years (1994–2004) and entailed an investment of $700 million in 11 Brazilian states. The program was conceived as a large consortium of different states, with investments guided by Tourism Development Strategies prepared by each state.

Eight airports were upgraded and expanded to facilitate tourism access in six states. Under the program, and with a view to organizing increasing tourism inflows, drinking water and sewerage services were also expanded and improved. More than 700 kilometers of water networks and 1,000 additional kilometers of networks for the collection of black water were installed, benefitting more than 1 million people. About 1,000 kilometers of roads and highways were paved, improving access to beaches and municipalities that were outside the tourism circuit.

The project also restored 22 landmarks totaling more than 94,000 square meters of recovered areas. As far as the environment is concerned, 102,000 hectares were turned into Environmental Protected Areas (EPA) and six conservation units were created in Bahia state. In certain municipalities, plans were designed to manage solid waste associated with local urban development plans.

An impact assessment conducted at the end of the first stage showed that the project helped attract $4 billion in private investment and contributed to the creation of one million jobs and an increase in visitors from 6 milion to 12 million between 1994 and 2000.

With these interventions, for example, 2 million tourists arrive in the city of Natal every year. “As a result, the city is well-regarded and it currently has the best hotel network in the region. This confirms the premise that each real invested in PRODETUR generates 10 reais in investments since it works as a multiplier,” BNB Superintendent José Maria Vilar said.

New PRODETUR stages supported by the IDB

The conversion of tourism into a foreign currency generator and job creator justified the implementation of the PRODETUR Nordeste II program, whose execution is expected to be completed by 2014 and includes investments in the amount of $400 million. The first stage of the program upgraded airport facilities and the second stage is providing professional and environmental training and improving road access to dozens of tourism destinations, upgrading basic sanitation, among other urban improvements.

In addition to the 11 states in the region, this stage covered the northeastern area of Espírito Santo and Minas Gerais states. This second stage required a Sustainable Tourism Development Integrated Plan for each destination, highlighting the importance of prioritizing actions to restore environmental damage related to execution of the project’s first stage. The second stage also required the development of a management plan that would include the participation of civil society organizations and that would have to be validated by the Destination Tourism Board, thus ensuring a permanent dialogue between society and the entities in charge of executing the program.

Based on the results obtained from both program stages, the Brazilian Tourism Ministry launched the PRODETUR National program in partnership with the IDB in 2008. Since 2010, the Bank has provided a $1 billion credit line to help finance public works and other actions related to this new stage. Since 2010, when the credit line was made available, the IDB has approved operations in Rio de Janeiro, Pernambuco and Ceará, totaling investments of roughly $340 million. In addition to direct operations with the states, the Bank maintains an operation with the federal government to consolidate national tourism policies through cooperative and decentralized public administration.

In view of the major sport events, such as the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games, the PRODETUR National program will play a major role improving the competitiveness of the country’s tourism industry. The projects under this new program have already received over $400 million in IDB financing and will have a direct impact in all the six cities hosting World Cup games and nearby tourism destinations.

Making dreams come true

Cláudia, Sérgio and Mónica are among 10 people in a kitchen, paying careful attention to the instructions given by the cooking teacher, Marcelo. They live in Nísia Floresta, in Rio Grande do Norte state, a city of 22,000 inhabitants that has been providing training for its people under the PRODETUR program. In recent years it has been receiving a large number of tourists, who are attracted by the landscapes and crystal clear water beaches.

Besides learning about fine cuisine principles, these Brazilians take Portuguese, Mathematics and Ethics classes. Students are trained in cooking regional food for one month. Each student has their own dreams and projects.

Sérgio Garcia is a waiter and wants to join the events department. He says that “for such purpose, I need to garner further experience in production, properly manage all kitchen-related issues and make the correct decisions, know how to estimate costs and choose the best options for the menu.” When the class ends, each student goes back home by different means: bicycle, motorcycle, or walking along the Nísia Floresta-Natal road, through the Rota do Sol (Sun Road). The trail was also part of the PRODETUR Nordeste program.

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