Salvador’s new Convention Center: a leap in quality compared to previous equipment.
With the potential to generate business of around R$ 500 million per year in Salvador, in January the new local’s Convention Center was inaugurated, built by the city hall and located where the Shopping Aeroclube, in front of the sea, existed in Boca do Rio. With bold design, the Salvador Convention Center is shaped like a dove, symbol of the flag of Salvador.
More than 50 sectors of the economy should benefit from the rehabilitation of the most important equipment in the Bahian capital for business tourism. Managed by GL Events, a French company that will be responsible for the Convention Center for 25 years, the project should generate 100 new direct jobs, reaching more than two thousand temporary workers during the events.
The equipment comes to join the Fiesta Convention Center, attached to the Fiesta Bahia Hotel - still the only one in the capital of Bahia integrated with the structure of a hotel. With a capacity for 5,300 people, the Fiesta Convention Center was twice awarded as the best in Brazil in the Hotel Convention Center category.
For Claudio Tinoco, secretary of Culture and Tourism of the capital of Bahia, “the installation of the Convention Center in the city brings all the attention to the business sector and moves far beyond the surroundings” - and for that reason “we have no doubt that the results in the city's economy will be the best they can possibly be", he says. Tinoco guarantees that “everyone is optimistic, from the owners of hotels, bars and restaurants to the taxi driver, the informal trader ".
More than 30 events are being planned for the first years of operation of the new Convention Center. "Soon, Salvador will be able to resume the level it has already reached in business tourism and events, when it came to occupy the third position in the country in this segment", celebrated Tinoco.
The impact on the city's economy with future congresses to be held at the Convention Center will also help to balance the sector's accounts during the low season. The accommodation sector lost R$ 1.6 billion in daily rates only after the old convention center stopped working. The old equipment suffered a partial collapse in 2016. The account does not include bitter losses for another 50 sectors of the economy related to tourism, but the total loss estimate is R$ 2 billion.
More than replacing the old one, the new convention center represents a step forward in terms of quality and business potential. For Magda Nassar, president of the Brazilian Association of Travel Agencies (Abav), “the old center did not have as great an impact as the new one from Boca do Rio”, which promises to meet “all sectors and demands, being one of the most modern centers from the country ".
With the new Convention Center, the occupancy rate in hotels in Salvador is expected to grow around 10% in the first two years and up to 22% in the following two years. The calculation was made by Luciano Lopes, president of the bahian section of the Brazilian Association of the Hotel Industry (ABIH-BA). According to the organization, in the last five years Salvador lost 25 hotels, including two large ones, due to the city's losses in the business tourism segment.
The Convention Center “restores business tourism to Salvador, which is an important segment and has been reducing every year”, says Lopes - “for a city it is fundamental, especially for one made out of sun and beach like Salvador, which ends up having a very big seasonality in tourism ”. Salvador now has 410 hotels and 40 thousand beds.
With eight auditoriums and more than 34 thousand m² of built area on a 103 thousand m² lot, the project represents an investment of R$ 130 million from the city of Salvador. The structure can receive up to 14 thousand people at congresses and conventions at the same time and up to 20 thousand people for shows in the external area. More than R$ 25 million will still be invested by the concessionaire, distributed among grants, equipment and facilities.