Florianopolis: The...


The Silicon Valley of Brazil

Florianopolis is a growing hub for technology and tourism industry development in Brazil, which makes it a particularly opportune location for the 3rd Global Forum. As a result of the rapid influx and development of private companies since the late 1990s, and its reputation as one of the most innovative cities in Brazil, this "Silicon Valley of Brazil" was recently voted as one of the Ten Most Dynamic Cities of the World by Newsweek.

Florianópolis (nicknamed Floripa) is the capital city of Santa Catarina State in southern Brazil. It is composed of one main island, the Island of Santa Catarina (Ilha de Santa Catarina), a continental part and the surrounding small islands. It has a population of 406,564, according to a 2006 Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics estimate. The metropolitan area has an estimated population of 821,552.

The economy of Florianópolis is heavily based on information technology, tourism and services. The city has 42 beaches and is a center of surfing activity. Newsweek placed Florianópolis in the "Ten most dynamic cities of the world" list[1]. Veja magazine, a Brazilian publication, named the city as "the best place to live in Brazil." As a result of this publicity, Florianopolis is growing as a second home destination for many Paulistas, Argentines, U.S. citizens and Europeans.

To tend to the demanding academic crowd, the city invested heavily in everything from roads to schools, and now Florianópolis ranks high on every development measure, from literacy (97 percent) to electrification (near 100 percent). By the late 1990s, private companies were flocking to the island, or emerging from a technology "incubator" at the federal university. (Among the innovations it hatched: the computerized voting machines that have made Brazilian elections fraud-free and efficient). Local officials now say their aim is to be the Silicon Valley of Brazil, with beaches.

In addition to its popular sugar soft white sand beaches Florianópolis offers many historical attractions, including the sites of the original Azorean colonists, the Lagoa da Conceição lagoon, and Santo Antônio de Lisboa. Tourism in Florianópolis has grown significantly over the past 10 years, with increasing numbers of visitors coming from other large cities in Brazil (particularly Porto Alegre, Curitiba, São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro) as well as other South American countries (particularly Argentina, with direct flights offered daily from Buenos Aires).[9]

During the past several years a greater number of international tourists have also begun to frequent the island (particularly from Europe and the United States), and 2006 marked the opening of the city's first multinational hotel, a Sofitel, and first US-based specialty tour operator, Nexus Surf. As the number of visitors to the island grows each year, Florianopolis faces the ongoing challenge of ensuring that its limited infrastructure and resources are updated to adequately accommodate them. Of particular concern are the sewers, which often drain directly into the ocean, polluting the very beaches that attract so many visitors.

During the past decade technology and software development firms also experienced strong growth, and today Information Technology services are one of the top revenue generators in Florianópolis. Several technology centers are spread around Florianópolis, making the city (together with Joinville and Blumenau) an important pole in this economic sector.

Source: Wikipedia

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