On our first travel this year we were lucky to visit São Paulo, the largest city of Brazil. It is needless to say that this city is enormous and can be overwhelming for visitors. But the city also has a rich cultural life and innumerous places to discover.
We spent five days here and got to explore some of São Paulo’s cool places. However, we were mainly in São Paulo to participate on the World Travel Market (WTM) Latin America, a huge expo gathering tourism companies from all over the world. We saw this expo as a good opportunity to promote our project and learn more about destinations around Brazil. And that’s what we did, along with meeting other people in the HI network and learning about their ways to promote sustainable tourism.
World Travel Market Latin America
WTM have the leading travel events for the tourism industries. WTM Latin America gathered 8 000 travel trade professionals over three days, for a business-to-business event. It was exciting to see almost every country in the world represented, some showing off their national costumes while others impressed us with traditional entertainment. Stands from every state in Brazil were also to be found, with information about all the exiting destinations Brazil has to offer. The main conclusion after this event: you need more than a year to experience all the wonderful places in this country!
Hostelling International Brazil was one of the exhibitors, and we got to meet the team. They all welcomed us with open arms and introduced us to different HI hostel managers at the event. Two of these were the owners of a hostel in Porto de Galinhas and they were both very eager to tell us about the sustainability initiatives at their hostel. Examples ranged from herb gardens for their guests and heating the showers with solar energy. Johanna Lira, one of the managers, told us that being part of the HI network was very important for them. They are interested in sustainability and appreciate the network gained through Hostelling International.
We were also part of the HI stand, where we had the ability to promote our project. For the event, we made folders about SayHI, which of course were made of recycled paper. These were very useful when meeting different businesses, in order to give them something concrete about what we are working with.
Creative São Paulo
We also had the possibility to see some of the great things São Paulo has to offer. On a daily base, we live in Brasilia, and it was fun to see a different city in Brazil. The streets were always full of life, especially one of the main streets, Avenida Paulista. São Paulo had really nice Brechós (secondhand shops), cute cafes and cool street-art. We even found a restaurant who served us beverages in glass jars WITHOUT straws. Good job São Paulo!
At MASP, the national museum of the city, we saw something that inspired us – they had benches, tables and stools made of cardboard paper. We were a bit worried the bench would fall apart when we sat on it, but it was surprisingly stable. This was a really cool way to reuse something we often have much of, and it gave us some great ideas for future projects.
It is safe to say that both of us are recommending São Paulo as a travel destination. It has the lively vibe of a big city, a vital cultural life and some really nice people.
Written by: Hanna Jacobsen and Eirin Heddeland
Keep following our updates here on the blog, to hear more stories and ideas about sustainability in Brazil and in Norway!