The 18th edition of the Gramado Tourism Festival, in the city of Gramado, in the southernmost Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul, which opened officially last night, November 16, will feature a first-time-ever initiative this year: business roundtables involving 16 foreign operators, 6 domestic ones and 39 local agencies.
The roundtables, scheduled to take place today from 2:30 pm until 7:00 pm, are organized in partnership between the Brazilian Micro and Small Business Support Service (Sebrae-RS), Brazil’s Ministry of Tourism and the company in charge of promoting the festival.
With regard to international operators, companies from Spain, France, Portugal, India, Chile, Bolivia and Peru have confirmed participation.
"Encouraging the trade of tourist products from the southern Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul in the foreign market represents a unique business opportunity, since the industry will be faced, next year, with the challenge of placing Brazil among the main destinations in the world," says Cássio Falkembach, tourism manager for Sebrae/RS.
According to him, business roundtables are among the most effective tools offered by Sebrae in order to stimulate micro and small companies to buy and sell products and services, as well as to establish commercial exchange.
"The roundtables allow for direct contact between seller and buyer, in pre-scheduled meetings of companies with complementary interests," he explains.
"We are also organizing entrepreneurial missions for professionals interested in participating in the Festival, making buses available from various regions of the State," claims the manager.
The institution also participates in the festival in a joint stand with the State Secretary of Tourism, Sports and Leisure, promoting the nine different tourist regions in Rio Grande do Sul: Central, North Shore, Metropolitan, Missions, Pampa (Guarani Indian for ‘Level Plains’), Mountain Range, Hydro-Mineral, South and Valleys.
In addition to the business roundtables, the state branch of the Sebrae will support the promotion of a congress, in the sidelines of the Festival, on Friday (November 17) and Saturday (November 18) mornings, aimed at the subjects "National Security and its Consequences for Tourism," and "Health Incorporated by Tourism as a Factor for Economic and Social Development," among other issues related to the industry.
The Gramado Tourism Festival will go on until Sunday (19) at the Serra Park Center for Fairs and Events. The Festival is considered one of the largest for the industry in Latin America. The current edition features 360 stands and 1,300 exhibiting companies from the five continents. In the last edition, more than 11,000 professionals visited the event.
Regarded as one of the main meetings for promotion and trade of tourism products, since 1989 the Gramado Tourism Festival has been setting in motion and fostering the State’s tourism industry.
Always held in November, the Festival features operators, travel agents, airline and ship companies, rental companies, hotels and tourist-related service providers as well as various official tourism organizations from Brazil and abroad.
Gramado is located in the Geral Mountain Range, 110 kilometers away from the capital city or Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre. The city has approximately 30,000 inhabitants, but in December, when it promotes the Natal Luz (Light-Filled Christmas) event, the city receives up to 300,000 tourists. Another traditional event is the Gramado Film Festival, carried out since 1973, which lasts six days in August.
Known as the "Brazilian Switzerland", Gramado has flowery streets and gardens throughout the four seasons. Mild-weathered during the summer, the city receives a large number of tourists during winter, seeking the warm feel of the hotels and lodges and interested in viewing the beautiful sights.
The city of Gramado is surrounded by mountains, groves and valleys, and has snowy, harsh winters. Springtime is announced by hydrangeas, chrysanthemums, roses, azaleas and petunias. The German and Italian characteristics are also noticed in the architecture of the city’s houses and buildings. The pointed roofs and walls are decorated with flowers and dolls that seem out of fairy tale books.
The economy is reinforced by small industries, which produce wooden furniture, footwear, textiles, leather products, craftwork and its famed chocolates and wines.
Gramado Tourism Festival
From November 16th until November 19th
At Serra Park Center for Fairs and Events – Viação Férrea, nº 100 – Gramado – RS
Anba – www.anba.com.br