Spanish hotel chain Iberostar Hotels & Resorts is opening its first
hotel in Brazil, the five star Iberostar Bahia, in the increasingly
popular Salvador de Bahia region. So far, Iberostar is the only
European hotel group to open a resort on the stretch of coastline known
as Praia do Forte.
The Iberostar Bahia is situated directly on the white sand beach, 60km
from the airport of Salvador, a vibrant colonial city with UNESCO World
Heritage status. The 632-room hotel includes a 2,600 m swimming pool
- the largest of any Brazilian resort - and an 18-hole golf course. The
Iberostar Bahia will also be a paradise for wildlife enthusiasts -
humpback whales can be spotted from its beach, and guests can visit the
turtle sanctuary and spot birds in the Atlantic Forest nearby.
The Bahia will be joined by two further hotels over the next three
years, which together will form the Iberostar Praia do Forte complex,
with a total of 1,600 rooms. Once complete, Iberostar’s total investment
in this new resort complex will have reached A3136 million.
Brazil’s tourism minister and the governor of the Salvador region both
attended the official launch event, a measure of the close relationship
between Iberostar and its latest destination. Iberostar is keen to
ensure that the local community shares the economic benefits of the
Bahha development, with most of the 1,000 jobs created at the resort
being given to local people and each receiving full training. In
addition, the Fundaci Iberostar, set up by company president Miguel
Flux in 2004, has recently contributed US$500m to a Unicef scheme to
open a school and health centre in the region.
While the Bahia is Iberostar’s first bricks-and-mortar property in the
country, the company has had a presence in Brazil since May 2005 with
the Iberostar Grand Amazon, a five star, 75-cabin cruise ship offering 4
or 5 day trips along the Rio Negro and Amazon rivers.
Heike Genschow, Director of Marketing, comments: “Brazil is becoming a
very fashionable destination for the UK and Salvador is one of its most
exciting and accessible regions. Forty per cent of our guests are repeat
bookers, and we are confident that, by offering them hotels in new
destinations with the standards of service that they have come to
expect, our policy of expansion will continue to be a success.” Further
new openings over the next 12 months include resorts in Jamaica and
Sardinia, which are also new destinations for Iberostar.