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Visiting Jalapão, minister defends work to boost tourism in the region

On the agenda, Marcelo Álvaro Antônio heard managers and the community that requested improvements to the tourist destination. 

The Minister of Tourism, Marcelo Álvaro Antônio, visited this Friday (16) the State Park of Jalapão, Tocantins, and knew some of its main attractions, such as the golden sand dunes and crystal clear rivers, with waterfalls, pristine sandy beaches and floating baths, known in the region as "boiling". The natural beauties of the region attract about 30,000 tourists a year - a large portion made up of foreigners.

"We have everything to make Jalapão one of the main points of attraction for tourists in Brazil, but also for the long distance people, such as Australians, Japanese and Chinese, who love this aspect of ecotourism and adventure tourism," said the minister. , after a nearly eight-hour visit to the region. He is the first holder of the Tourism Portfolio to visit the destination.

In order for the region to receive more tourists and increase the frequency of tourists, the minister's most listened demand was to pave the highways that link the state capital, Palmas, to the region. About 180 kilometers of dirt roads - some with problems such as leveling irregularities, detours, floods and potholes - make the trip a separate adventure, which can take almost a day of travel.

“I am receiving these requests very responsibly. I will not make promises, but work to bring infrastructure to the region, in a set of efforts of the Federal Government together with the State Government and the local governments of the region, ”said Marcelo. The visit was organized and accompanied by the governor of Tocantins, Mauro Carlesse (DEM).

Jalapão occupies an area of ​​34 thousand km². The municipalities of Mateiros, Novo Settlement, Ponte Alta do Tocantins and São Félix do Tocantins make up the region, which is a Tocantins environmental conservation unit.

VISITED BEAUTY

The first point of visit in Jalapão was Cachoeira da Velha, on the Novo river, a suitable place for rafting (canoes adapted for rapids). The sequence of horseshoe-shaped falls and the sheer volume of water make the place an attraction for adventure lovers. The area also has very white sandy beaches. The Minister of Tourism met a group of Italian tourists and another from São Paulo, with whom he talked and got the same observation: the place deserves better access.

Soon after, the visit was to the Formiga waterfall, which takes its name from the river that supplies it. Although it is a small waterfall, it impresses the emerald greenish tone of the transparent waters, which have a warm temperature. The place is within a very closed path, which clashes with the open savannah landscape that occupies the park.

Considered the biggest tourist attraction of Jalapão, the sand dunes with shades ranging from red to gold were the third stop of the entourage. The minister climbed one of them with about 30 meters altitude, from where you can contemplate the Serra do Espírito Santo. In this mountain range, whose altitude can reach 400 meters, tourists wake up at dawn to contemplate the sunrise or climb its steep cliffs to follow the sunset on the opposite side. "I am amazed at so many natural beauties," said the minister. For him, this natural asset needs to be exploited by the tourism sector, but within rules that preserve the environment. “The hypothesis of degradation of this place is not discussed,” said Marcelo.

CRAFTS

The visit also featured a stop in the quilombola community Mumbuca, which is actually a kind of large family, whose matriarch developed the art of weaving golden grass, which is endemic in the region and is only harvested once a year. Although golden grass handicraft has already crossed borders and is one of the hallmarks of Jalapão, it has been suffering predatory action. Invaders harvest the material before it is mature.

The quilombolas presented to the minister and governor a list of demands, ranging from health posts to improvements in access roads, through land regularization of local land. For the minister, the idea of ​​paving the road that connects the capital Palmas to these municipalities in the region will bring direct benefits to artisans.

“One of the Bolsonaro government's concerns is precisely to seek improvements that make a difference to the humblest, most needy population. If we are able to make changes that favor this important group of artisans, we will make them, ”he said. Marcelo was presented with a jug made of golden grass, adorned with natural grasses.