UPDATE: 6 July 2021: Since applications opened two weeks ago, the number of cases have dropped 33% and the vaccination in Sao Paulo went from 16 million people (35% of the state population) with the first dose to over 20 million (44% of the population).
The AdventureWeek program is arriving in a new destination in October 2021– Sao Paulo, Brazil. After months of planning, the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA) and the Secretaria de Turismo e Viagens do estado de São Paulo join forces to host this event in a fantastic location, the Ribeira Valley, in the south of the state.
For some of us on the ATTA Latin American team, this event has a special meaning. This is the first time, after years working at the ATTA, that we will be able to work with our home state back in Brazil.
Like the state of New York and New York City, Sao Paulo names both the city and a state. Sao Paulo city is famous for being one of the largest metropolises in the world and the state is the most populous in Brazil with 45 million inhabitants. Most of the international tourists who visit the state focus on business trips so it may leave some to wonder how adventure fits in this destination and why host an AdventureWeek there?
Outside the city that carries the nickname of “concrete jungle,” you can find beautiful beaches, fascinating local communities, incredible caves, a well-preserved part of the Atlantic Rainforest with its incredible biodiversity, and of course, a lot of adventure. The AdventureWeek will take place in the Ribeira Valley, in the south of the state, a three-hour drive from Sao Paulo city. It will be a first for many explorers looking to find an undiscovered hidden gem.
COVID-19 Protocols – An in-person event in Brazil during the pandemic?
ATTA is committed to our community’s safety and many factors were considered before making the decision to move forward with the in-person event in Sao Paulo.
Brazil is a large country with more than 200 million people. The federation is composed of 26 states and a Federal District. In terms of the pandemic, much like the United States, the states in Brazil are performing differently in handling the situation.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, when the COVID-19 virus started to spread in Europe, Sao Paulo was one of the first states to take action. Strict rules were imposed within the first weeks while the number of cases were still low. Thereafter, the state governor launched a detailed plan dividing Sao Paulo into subregions and classifying each into five stages depending on the number of cases and hospital capacity. This plan has evolved and is still in place today.
In Sao Paulo, the use of masks is mandatory in all public places or means of transportation. People who do not respect this rule are subject to a fine of approximately $100 USD. Nowadays, walking around the city it’s very unlikely to see anyone not wearing a mask. It has become part of Sao Paulo life.
Sao Paulo is also actively committed to vaccinating its population. As of today, more than 16 million people (35% of the state population) have already had the first shot, and 6 million are fully vaccinated. The state has the goal of having all adults vaccinated by 15 September 2021, which was a key consideration for hosting the AdventureWeek in the last week of October.
All these actions led to Sao Paulo’s seal of Safe Travels by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC). The seal attests to the good practices of the government and companies regarding hygiene and health security. The protocols align the public and private sectors through standards to ensure the safety of employees and travelers. Although they take into account the current guidelines, it is a living document that will be updated as new information becomes available regarding COVID-19.
With safety concerns in mind, the ATTA has changed the way the AdventureWeek program will operate. Previously, we preferred to keep the 20 participants together so they would experience the event as a group, but this time participants will be divided into three smaller groups. While they will all experience the same itinerary, they will take turns between the three subregions of the Ribeira Valley (Caminhos da Mata Atlantica, Cavernas da Mata Atlantica, and Lagamar).
The success of AdventureWeek Bogota in February 2021 instills further confidence that the adapted event format and safety protocols will produce another outstanding AdventureWeek for Latin America in October. “I am very excited for another AdventureWeek, especially after the amazing success of AdventureWeek Bogotá this year, where we could experience the destination, build connections, and get inspired again. All of that was done with great safety and health protocols in place, which we will also have for AdventureWeek Sao Paulo,” says Gabi Stowell, ATTA Director of Latin America and the Caribbean.
ATTA is committed to applying the COVID-19 Adventure Travel Health and Safety Protocols created in collaboration with Cleveland Clinic. We are sure that, even with all challenges we are facing, AdventureWeek Sao Paulo will be a successful event.
Applications are open for outbound tour operators, travel advisors, and media who would like to experience this truly special part of Sao Paulo state, the Riberia Valley 22-31 October 2021. Learn more and apply. Applications Close 16 July 2021.