For foreigners and the vast majority of Brazilians, the northeastern state of Bahia is synonymous with sun, sand, and partying. Indeed, the region’s beaches attract millions of holidaymakers every year, with tourism being responsible for 4 percent of the state’s BRL 300 billion (USD 55.84 billion) GDP. But, as soon as you begin to go inland, the economy of Bahia changes dramatically, focused mainly on agribusiness and mining.
The agricultural sector has been the backbone of the Bahia economy since colonial times. In the year 1500, Portuguese navigators first set foot in Brazil at Porto Seguro, the southern Bahia town now known for its beaches. After settling in the region, they soon began cultivating and exporting cacao, an industry that remains until today.