Fortaleza played its last part in the World Cup last Friday (04.07) with Brazil's 2-1 win over Colombia at the Castelão Arena. The win put Brazil through to the semi-final for the first time in twelve years. The stadium was the stage of six matches and 17 goals. In addition, almost 360 thousand fans attended the games. Outside of the ground, fans from several countries partied in the city and praised the locals. In a press conference to announce their assessment of the tournament, City Hall and state government managers celebrated ‘the perfect World Cup’ staged by Fortaleza.
“Not in our wildest dreams would we have thought that the World Cup would have been as good as the one we put on", stated Ceará's Special World Cup Secretary (SECOPA) Ferruccio Feitosa. “It’s a feeling of achievement and we’re pleased to get here not just with this result, but with all this energy and happiness that we saw throughout Fortaleza", said Fortaleza’s Extraordinary World Cup Secretary (SECOPAFOR) Patrícia Macedo.
Games and public
At the World group stage, the Castelão was the ground of the unexpected results, as no favourite managed to win at the stadium. On 14 June, Uruguay saw Costa Rica come back from behind and beat them 3-1. On the 17th, Brazil only managed a goalless draw against Mexico. Four days later (21.07), the Germans were held to a 2-2 draw against Ghana. Finally, on 24 June, Ivory Coast needed a draw against Greece to go through to the knockout stage, only to lose 2-1 and go home early.
In the round of 16 and quarterfinals, favourites Holland and Brazil saw off their opposition, thus breaking the trend. In all, almost 360 thousand people attended the matches, an average of 59 thousand per game. According to SECOPA, from the total number of people to attend the games at the Castelão, 150 thousand were foreign tourists and 109 thousand Brazilians from other states - an average of 43 thousand tourists per match. When added to the number of people who travelled to Fortaleza with no tickets for the games, the number of tourists surpasses 350 thousand.
Among the foreign visitors, Americans were the nationality with the most number of representatives at the Castelão Arena, with 27 thousand tickets bought, followed by Mexicans (22 thousand) and Germans (15 thousand). In the domestic market, people from São Paulo were the ones to buy the most tickets, with 40 thousand tickets. Visitors from Rio de Janeiro (14 thousand) were the second and Rio Grande do Norte (7.5 thousand) third.
» Castelão ends World Cup participation with average attendance of almost 60,000 per match, 359,896 fans overall
According to secretary Ferruccio Feitosa, the number of foreign visitors at the Castelão Arena was higher than the number of travellers from other nationalities in the whole of 2013. “Visitors injected nothing less than R$ 700 million in direct transactions in the state economy during the World Cup. Throughout 12 months, this will be multiplied and provide opportunities to the people from the state of Ceará”, said the secretary. According to him, the number of jobs generated is still being accounted for.
Great part of the tourists that travelled to Fortaleza chose to travel by plane. According to the Brazilian Airport Authority (INFRAERO), 5,025 flights – an average of 209 per day - were recorded at the International Pinto Martins Airport. On the day of the Brazil and Colombia match alone, last Friday (04.07), at least 25 thousand people came through the airport.
One of the most complimented items by tourists at the World Cup was the mobility system put in place for the six games in the city. In all, 350 free buses left from seven spots in the city, taking fans to the stadium. According to City Hall, 283 thousand people used the special bus lines to get to the Castelão - an average of 47 thousand per game. In addition, 40 thousand people used special minibuses, which were made available for people with reduced mobility.
“I was impressed with the number of buses and how quickly we got to the stadium”, stated Dutch tourist Geurt Roos (61), who watched Holland beat Mexico at the stadium. Sisters Benildes (82) and Teresa (70) left Teresina to watch the match between Greece and Ivory Coast. From the airport, they took one of the special lines to the Castelão and from there, got onto a minibus that took them to the stadium’s gate. “It’s all great. Services at the airport were really good. There are a lot of volunteers to help the tourists and the buses are really fast”, praised Benildes.
The 21 day Fan Fes summarised the slogan “Fortaleza, the happy World Cup host city”. Chosen by FIFA to stage the event’s world launch on 8 June, Fortaleza saw 505 thousand visit the Fan Fest at the Iracema beach - average of 24 thousand a day. Another four Fan Fests will be put on, for the semi-finals, the third place play-off and the final.
Advanced medical units placed at the Fan Fest Arena at Iracema beach and the Castelão provided expert care for 804 people and 37 of them were taken to hospitals in the city. In total, 171 people were cared for at the stadium and 10 taken to a hospital. At the Fan Fest, 733 people used medical services and 27 of them were taken to a hospital or clinic.
According to the Ceará State Public Security and Social Defence Secretariat (SSPDS), 497 crimes were reported and 80 misdemeanours were recorded during the World Cup. In total, there were 31 arrests, 12 of them foreign nationals (10 Mexicans, 1 Greek and 1 German). Fortaleza used 7 thousand security agents throughout the World Cup.
One hundred recyclable material pickers worked in the surrounding areas of the Castelão Arena and Fan Fest. They collected 37 tons of solid waste. “This is a very important operation because it generates job and income for the pickers. In addition, we cleaned the sand to ensure a high hygienic standard”, states secretary Patrícia Macedo.
Those enrolled in the federal government’s volunteer programme also played an important role during the World Cup. In total, there were 280 volunteers, with 200 working at car parks and 80 divided between the Fan Fest and Castelão Arena. The experience was considered unique by the volunteers themselves, something they will take with them for the rest of their lives. “It was an amazing experience. I’m going to find out how I enrol for the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro”, reported volunteer Vera Lúcia Sival, Tourism student, who worked in the area of the stadium, guiding fans.
Legacy for the city
According to City Hall and state government managers, Fortaleza will look different after the World Cup. In addition to being known globally, after hosting important matches in the competition, the city also conducted important urban mobility related works to improve improving the flow of traffic. After the R$ 38.4 million invested, the roundabout and tunnel in front of the Castelão stadium allow for Paulino Rocha, Alberto Craveiro, Silas Munguba and Juscelino Kubitscek Avenues to be interconnected. The Paulino Rocha and Alberto Craveiro Avenues were widened, after R$ 19.5 million was invested in the former and R$ 28.6 million in the latter.
In addition to infrastructure construction works to improve traffic flow, on 16 June, the passenger terminal at the Mucuripe Port was opened in Fortaleza. On the occasion, 3.6 thousand Mexicans arrived on a ship to watch the Brazil match. The new compound is able to cater for 4,500 passengers arriving or departing. In total, R$ 205 million were invested in the building works, appliances, operational furniture, environmental licensing and compensation, indemnity payments, overseeing activities and procurement of equipment (scanner, closed circuit television, X-ray, lift, escalators, among others).
“There is so much legacy that it's difficult to list. The biggest legacy is at the social level, generating employment, income and better quality of life for the population. The level of visibility achieved by Fortaleza in Brazil and the world, bringing tourism to its full potential, is something that we need to improve ever more", stated secretary Ferruccio Feitosa. “The construction works are for the people from Ceará. They are aimed at mobility, so that residents spend less time on public transport, having more time to be with their families", he added.