November 2007
(NEW!) Brazil's Tourism sector

Brazilian tourism welcomed 2008 by celebrating a record: US$ 4.953 billion entered the country’s economy through the expenditures of nearly five million foreign tourists that chose Brazil as their destination last year. The performance, 14.7% better than 2006’s US$ 4.3 billion, made 2007 the best year in Brazil’s tourism history.

The “Watercolor Plan - International Tourist Marketing”, a study aimed at helping Brazil better promote itself as a global tourist destination, challenges us to reach US$ 7.7 billion of tourism income and 7.9 million international visitors in 2010. The inflow of foreign exchange in 2007 is a great incentive for us to reach these goals, especially when considering that the 2007 figure is 44.1% greater than in 2003 – the year in which the Ministry of Tourism was created and Embratur took over the international promotion.

Today, tourism is an increasingly important economic and social development tool for Brazil. It is therefore a government priority and has a serious promotion program targeting 24 strategic countries, with the goal is of consolidating Brazil as a competitive tourist destination abroad.
According to a recommendation from the Watercolor Plan, the United States is considered a market of ‘extremely high priority’ in our effort towards international promotion. This does not happen by accident: the US is the second largest sender of tourists to Brazil (only after neighboring Argentina), having been responsible for 14.4% of the international visitors' total flow in 2006, or 721,633 tourists.

The Watercolor Plan also indicates that 6.7% of the 57.9 million Americans that travel abroad annually have a great interest in visiting Brazil. What may at first seem like a small percentage actually means a potential 3.9 million new tourists. It is this section of the public that we will work with to pursue our goal of 1.2 million Americans visitors in Brazil in 2010.

Our main promotional message will continue to emphasize the rich diversity of Brazil’s natural and cultural heritage, as well as the happiness and lifestyle of the Brazilian people. Besides the “Discover Brazil” concept (which focuses on five segments promoted overseas – Sun and Beach, Ecotourism, Sport, Culture, and Business and Events), niches such as gastronomy, luxury, adventure, afro-ethnic, and GLBT tourism also gain a special promotion in the US market.

To echo these messages, Embratur’s budget and its programs in the United States have been consistently increasing. This year, we shall invest more than US$ 16 million in promotional actions, versus US$ 10 million in 2007. In 2008 Brazil’s presence is expected in 18 international commercial and tourism oriented fairs in the United States. When we installed the first Brazilian Tourist Office (BTO) in 2004 in New York City, only 6 fairs were included in the agenda. The Brazilian tourist promotion in the United States has clearly evolved, having become stronger and having established a relationship of confidence with the market through the permanent presence of the BTO.

We have reached a point where we have placed our green and yellow national flag all over the United States’ map, in numerous different fields of promotion. In 2008, for instance, the calendar includes events such as the Mercedes Benz Fashion Week; the fairs PGA (Golf), and IT&ME (business); the Brazilian Festival of Movies (culture); and the ATTA (adventure) and IGLTA (GLBT) conventions.

It does not stop there. The array of promotional activities and events planned for 2008 is massive. Strategies include a sequence of seminars, training courses, and road shows in partnership with large American tourism companies including SITA, TIA, and Globus; “Brazil Caravan” trips that take operators to visit national destinations; and new editions of the “Brazil-expert Travel Agent” e-learning program.

Looking back to 2007, two actions had special prominence - and, evidently, are confirmed to be repeated in 2008. They are the “Discover Brazil” event and the “Brazil, Become a Fan” publicity campaign. The first event is already a traditional action promoted in June in the Grand Central Terminal, New York’s busiest station through which half a million people pass daily. The second campaign, which occurred between September and December of 2007, involved TV (CNN), printed, and external media, and the Internet. For example, 16 buses cruised around the island of Manhattan displaying prominent images of Brazil on their side panels.

Brazil has a golden opportunity in its hands in 2008. With Embratur’s support, the United States Tour Operators Association (USTOA) chose Brazil as the host for its annual board meeting. In the first semester of the year, Rio de Janeiro, Salvador, and Florianópolis will receive the visit of 48 members of the USTOA board, all of them owners of large American operators. The expectation is that Brazil may qualify itself as one of the main tourism destinations for 2008 and 2009.

According to the “2006 International Tourist Demand”, the American tourist is the one that spends the most in Brazil, both for leisure (US$ 145.1/day) and on business (US$ 202.8/day), staying an average of 17 days. Americans also show an extremely high rate – 96.5% - of intention to return, surpassing the general average of 86% shown by surveys on the Watercolor Plan. Brazil is a destination that keeps its visitors coming back, and it has its arms open to receive more and new American tourists.