The Rio Botanical Garden of January (JBRJ) completes 214 years in this Mondayon Monday (13), with the challenge of recovering the audience lost during the covid-19 pandemic. As with other leisure attractions in the city of Rio, the place was closed for visitation at the beginning of the pandemic, in March 2020, and only reopened in July of that year. Gradually, the visitors returned, but the pre-illness level has not yet been reached.
Data from the institution itself show that, from January to May of this year, the JBRJ received 173,100 visitors. The number shows an increase of 51% compared to the same period in 2021, when the Botanical Garden received 114,600. But it is still 22% below the level recorded in the first five months of 2019, that is, before the pandemic, when the place had 221,700 visitors.
“This visitation number, which has not yet recovered the pre-pandemic level, is also due to foreign tourists. Before the pandemic, up to about 40% of our audience was made up of people from outside the country. like this return [do turismo internacional] 100% has not yet been reached, we have not yet reached that level”, explains the president of the JBRJ, Ana Lúcia Santoro.
According to her, the number of visitors from Rio de Janeiro and other parts of Brazil has already resumed. Therefore, while international tourism does not return to pre-pandemic levels, the Botanical Garden’s strategy is to focus on Brazilians, increasing the institution’s presence on social networks, for example, and creating new attractions (or even resuming old ones).
“It is a rescue of the Botanical Garden of Rio, as a place for Cariocas, Fluminense, Brazilians. We have improved our social media to expand this reach and publicize our services, such as the new trails”, says Ana Lúcia.
Taking advantage of the 214th anniversary celebrations, the JBRJ inaugurates today, for example, the palm tree trail. Visitors will be able, with the help of maps or an application, to receive information about about 20 species of this botanical family, in 15 beds of the arboretum (a public exhibition area of the garden’s living plant collection).
Another attraction in celebration of the anniversary will be an exhibition of the stem of the first imperial palm tree planted in the country, in 1809, as a gift to the Prince Regent. Sun John VI. The plant, which was almost 39 meters tall, was destroyed by lightning in 1972, but part of its stem was preserved.
About a month ago, the JBRJ also reopened the nursery to the public, which had been closed since the beginning of the pandemic. The space, which underwent renovation worth R$300,000, contains more than 7,500 orchids, including native, exotic and hybrid. On the first day of visitation alone, the space received 2,200 visitors.
Another R$ 370,000 is being invested in the renovation of the greenhouse for insectivorous plants (better known as carnivores) and the roof of the bromeliad, in addition to the installation of a new drying oven in the herbarium.
The Jardim Botânico theater, which has been closed for five years, will be transformed into a “cultural ecovillage”, in partnership with the private sector, which will offer theater shows, creative workshops, workshops, artistic training and recreation for children. Activities are expected to begin in the second half of this year.
The Botanical Garden was opened in June 13 from 1808, by Sun João VI, as an area for acclimatization of plant species from other parts of the world.