understand how the slowdown in the pandemic is affecting the resumption of religious tourism in southern Minas | south of Minas

The flexibility of the pandemic has already paid off on religious tourism routes in southern Minas. The region’s historic cities, which are commonly visited by cultural and religious symbols, claim that an improvement in the movement of believers could be seen after Holy Week.

In the south of Minas, some religious routes such as Cassia, Bom Repuso, Tres Pontas, Baependi and Inconfidentes attract tourists from all over Brazil. After the religious period, from April 10 to 16, the city administration and religious representatives noted the resumption of the number of visits. In some places, renewal is slower. In others, tourism flies.

Known for their comfort always offered to those who come to the region, the southern miners are now re-opening their arms to believers, pilgrims, pilgrims and visitors who want to lay new routes of true “religious tourism” in the south of Minas. .

Sanctuary of Santa Rita Cassia

The resilience of the pandemic is reflected in the resumption of religious tourism in southern Minas — Photo: Reproduction / EPTV

The city of Cassia was born around the image of Santa Rita, the patroness of impossible deeds, the protector of widows and the holy rose, who was beatified in 1627. In addition to devotion to the saint, many believers go to the city to seek the blessing of the blessed Father Donizetti.

According to Diego Borges Diaz, Minister of Tourism, tourists usually come from different backgrounds in Brazil. “They pass through Cassia, for example, and therefore visit other municipalities.”

The increase in the flow of visitors to the city usually occurs in May, the month when Santa Rita de Cassia Day is traditionally celebrated.

“In the month of May, especially on the 22nd, on the day of St. Rita. Every 22nd day of every month is remembered as Santa Rita Day.”

This year, a novelty comes to the list of attractions in Cassia. This is the new Sanctuary of Santa Rita, which will be open between 20 and 22 May. According to Diego, from 100 to 150 thousand tourists are expected at the opening of the facility.

The new Sanctuary is to cover an area of ​​180,000 square meters, 100,000 of which are for construction. For the convenience of believers, the capacity is up to 5,000 seated and about 2,000 standing.

The entrepreneur who created the Sanctuary, Paulo Flavio de Melo Carvalho, explains that the inauguration will be a moment of faith and devotion.

“We expect the city of Cassia to become a destination for religious tourism and a place to experience faith and evangelism.”

For municipal government, expectations are no different. “The current scenario already assumes the development and increase in the number of new companies, mainly related to the food and beverage sector, the hotel sector and the real estate sector,” emphasizes the Minister of Tourism.

Our Lady of Mercy

Image of Nossa Senhora das Graças located in Bom Repuzu (MG) – Photo: Municipality of Bom Repuzu (MG)

Visitors go to the city of Bom Repuso in search of an image of Nossa Señora das Graças, about 20 meters high. The “Giant Saint” is the greatest monument of the heritage of Bom Repouso and has become a symbol representing the municipality on the path of the faithful.

“Everyone who visits our city and is looking for religious tourism visits our Mother Church, the grotto of Nossa Señora de Fatima and especially the image of Nossa Señora das Grasas. Those who are looking for adventure tourism visit waterfalls, especially the one on the wall where the ascent takes place.”

According to Social Development Minister Talita Bertolacini de Almeida Pereira, since the start of the pandemic, the flow of tourists to the city has dropped significantly, but is still not completely normal.

“We have a significant number (of visits) in November, as Nossa Senhora das Graças is celebrated on the 27th of the month.”

Visitors usually stay for the day and sometimes for the weekend. It is during the holiday period that the stay is usually extended.

According to the minister, by the end of the year the city is ready to receive new tourists. Bom Reposo is expected to receive around 1,000 new visitors each month.

The resilience of the pandemic is reflected in the resumption of religious tourism in southern Minas — Photo: Fernanda Rodrigues/G1

Those arriving in Tres Pontas usually look for the Igreja Matriz Nossa Senhora D’Ajuda, which houses the remains of the blessed Father Victor. The Memorial, Parque da Mina and Erma do Padre Victor are also popular places for the faithful.

According to tourist Keire Kelly Ferreira Mariano, the other most visited places are Carmelo Sao José, the “Nossa Mae” memorial, the “Alfredo Benassi” Cultural Center and the municipal park of Vale do Sol. In the city, tourism is already taking shape again after the pandemic has eased.

“We are still in the process of recovery, but little by little we notice an increase in the flow of tourists,” comments Keire.

According to a tourism expert, the biggest benefits for Tres Pontas tend to be the promotion of tourism activity, the development of local trade and service networks. According to the mayor’s office, tourists are predominantly from the South-East region and usually stay in the city for one or two days.

An even greater movement is observed in September, in connection with the celebration of the feast of Blessed Father Victor, which takes place on the 23rd, and in November, on the 14th, an increase in the flow of tourists is also noticeable for the local celebration of Our Mother, Mother Teresa Margaret Mary’s heart.

Expectations in Tres Pontas are associated with an increase in the number of visits by pilgrims, pilgrims and tourists. In addition, the return of in-person events such as the Canto Aberto Festival, Expocafé and Festa do Padre Victor, which attract up to 70,000 people.

According to the tourism specialist of the municipality, in the future it is planned to create pilgrimage routes, as well as the creation of an observatory for local tourism. While no date has yet been set, the offer should go live in the second half of 2022.

The resilience of the pandemic is reflected in the resumption of religious tourism in southern Minas — Photo: Fernanda Rodrigues/G1

In Baependi, tourists seek to learn the history of Nya Chica, who was beatified 10 years ago. In the city, the main tourist attractions are churches and religious events. The Sanctuary of Nossa Señora da Conceicao, known as Nha Chica Church, is one of the main destinations.

According to André Luis Correa Santos, sacristan of the parish of Santa Maria de Baependi, in 2022 the parish of Baependi will turn 300 years old and will be the second oldest parish in the south of Minas.

Another success is Matriz Nossa Senhora Montserrat, which was one of the first churches in the region to be listed by IPHAN – Instituto Patrimônio Histórico e Artístico Nacional. André says the church was built in a sui generis style, making it unique throughout Brazil for its Baroque features as well as Rococo influences.

“In this church is the main altar, where is the gold donated by Beata Nha Chica.”

According to cultural coordinator Flavia Pelucio de Lara, the city supports tourism activities and maintenance of the city. Pilgrimages basically move the economy and also spread religiosity, beauty and local culture.

Baependi is visited by tourists from all over Brazil, but mostly visitors from the southeastern region. Most of the tourists who travel to the city come to visit, ask and thank the favors achieved thanks to Beat Nha Chica.

According to Flavia, tourism is resuming in full force. They receive tourists throughout the year, but during religious holidays such as Semana Santa, Corpus Christi, and the anniversary of the death of Beata Nha Chica, traffic in the city increases significantly.

The city received almost 5,000 pilgrims last year and the municipality is working to increase that number, according to the cultural coordinator.

“We are focused on structuring our city to accommodate more people so that we can attract more visitors in a responsible and organized way in the near future,” comments Flavia.

The resilience of the pandemic is reflected in the resumption of religious tourism in southern Minas – Photo: Disclosure Caminho das Capelas

Of particular interest to pilgrims are the main attractions of Inconfidentes: these are religious routes. The municipal government is responsible for marking the pilgrimage routes that traverse the municipality, especially the Camino das Capelas, which runs through all the rural areas of Inconfidentes.

According to the press service of the mayor’s office, the purpose of this route is to take tourists deep into the city, where a diverse religious and gastronomic culture is represented.

“The main advantage is to attract visitors to the municipality in order to use the local economy,” he emphasizes.

At Inconfidentes, in addition to visitors from different regions of Brazil, there are many believers from the municipalities of the eastern region of the state of São Paulo. Also, according to the mayor’s office, with the weakening of the pandemic in the city, pilgrimage tourism has again intensified.

According to information from the Inconfidentes department of culture and tourism, the municipality welcomes more tourists on extended holidays, as well as on religious holidays such as Holy Week.

“There are various attractions for pilgrims in the city.”

According to Emerson Fernandez Pereira, head of culture and tourism, the most visited places are Igreja Matriz São Geraldo Magela, the Beata Nhá Chica chapels, which are the starting point of the Nhá Chica path, and the São Judas chapel. There is also Bar do Maurau, a traditional meeting place for pilgrims.

Management says the municipality is ready to welcome new visitors and is expected to receive up to 30,000 pilgrims this year. In future projects, according to the press service, it is planned to carry out the 2nd walk along Camino das Capelas with the support of the City Hall.

VIDEO: All about the south of Minas

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