Brazilians traveled 41 percent less during the pandemic

trips brazil pandemic
In 2020, the pandemic grounded the tourism industry. In 2021, the problem was inflation. Photo: Antonio Salaverry/Shutterstock

Brazilians took 41 percent fewer trips in 2021 than in 2019, the last pre-pandemic year, according to official numbers released on Wednesday. Last year, Brazilians went on just 12.3 million trips.

In 2020, Covid restrictions grounded tourism to a halt. But it was higher prices that kept travelers at home in 2021. “In Brazil, 2021 was worse for tourism than 2020. The crisis in the sector intensified,” said Flávia Vinhaes, the researcher who oversaw the survey.

The rate of households where at least one member took a trip dropped from 21.8 percent in 2019 to just 12.7 percent last year. That drop was, unsurprisingly, more pronounced among lower-income households. One-third of high-income families had at least one member who traveled in 2021, against just 8 percent among poorer ones.

International trips, which are also impacted by the foreign exchange rate, suffered the most. The percentage of Brazilians who traveled abroad dropped to 0.7 percent in 2021, from 3.8 percent two years prior. The Brazilian Real in 2021 lost over 7 percent against the U.S. Dollar.

Brazil’s inflation closed 2021 at 10.06 percent, the highest in six years. The index was mainly pressured by transportation costs, due to successive fuel price adjustments which impacted bus and airplane ticket prices.