When in November 2001 I boarded the VASP flight (remember VASP?) taking me from São Paulo to Foz do Iguaçu, I could have never imagined I was inaugurating a glorious decade of non-stop travel throughout Brazil.
It was only in March 2007 when I decided, following on the success of my Spanish-language De viaje a Brasil, to share my knowledge of Brazil with other travelers interested on the country. Reliable information was hard to find and I was being offered a fantastic chance of being useful to others. The Brazil Travel Blog was born.
My trips throughout Brazil have brought tremendous rewards. On my very second trip, to the then unheard of ecotourism destination of Bonito, I met my wife-to-be Cecília, travel partner ever since as well as my true soul mate. Travel and blogging also brought me in touch with wonderful people who would eventually become my friends. Our friendship will certainly outlive blogging.
Today, that joyful trip comes to an end. There will be no more Brazil Travel Blog as from today (the current content of the site should remain online for a good while). The main reason for my decision is time. Or rather, the lack of it.
It might sound odd to call it a day at a time when exposure for Brazil is at an all-time high. But then, I would urge everyone to be cautious, the tourism flow associated with a major sporting event is, to a great extent, unrelated to “ordinary” tourism during the rest of the year. For Brazil to make justice to its tourist potential, many things need to change. And the sign on the wall is that, unfortunately, that is not about to happen. Tourism is still taken care of by technocrats who understand very little of the way travel has changed in the last decade.
People like Alison McGowan and her Hidden Pousadas have done more for foreign tourism in Brazil that the torrents of money spent on press trips and glamorous first-class travel for the politicians calling the shots. And very much like ourselves and the Brazil Travel Blog, Alison is battling it alone.
There is a bunch of people who have been working for nearly a decade in close contact with foreign tourists planning a trip to Brazil (count Alison in, Ricardo Freire has also made valuable contributions to the debate; Michael Sommers is, in our opinion, the best foreign pen writing on travel and Brazil). We have developed a unique awareness of the areas where Brazil could massively improve its tourism status among the world nations. But to date, our know-how has been largely ignored. Brazilian authorities state again and again their belief that the travel agent is the unique piece in the travel business of the XXI century. A real pity, as research has shown that the vast majority of those visiting Brazil are independent travellers. There is a very real sense that Brazil is failing to fulfill its potential (in spite of the short-term success associated with the large sporting events hosted by Brazil).
Anyway, I would not like to end the Brazil Travel Blog on a sour note, it would not do justice to a blogging experience that has been a true pleasure to conduct.
So, here’s a shortish list of outstanding destinations you might want to consider for your next Brazilian trip!
Thank you, Brazil, for the Amazon at its purest in Alter do Chão and the river Tapajós, for the pristine beaches of Boipeba, for two outstanding urban destinations like Brasilia and Curitiba, for that paradise called Fernando de Noronha, for the superb Pantanal and for the unique Lençóis Maranhenses. Thank you for having the chance to witness the bumba-meu-boi once in our lifetime.
As from now, our blog, Twitter, Facebook and Google+ accounts cease to be updated. However, we will continue curating stories about Brazil on our Flipboard’s Travel Brazil magazine. Check it out here! We are still blogging about Brazil on our Spanish-language De viaje a Brasil. The core of the work we do know is focussed on Spain and Barcelona (check out our Barcelona in 15 walks).
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