Brazil’s plan to double tourists in three years

. May 21, 2019
brazil plan boost tourism

For people around the world, Brazil conjures up images of the exotic, the exuberant, and the exciting. You would be hard pressed to find anyone around the world who would turn down the opportunity to visit. But, if that’s the case, then why aren’t more people coming?

Brazil attracted 6.6 million tourists in 2018, less than one-quarter of the total visitors to Austria (which is smaller than Brazil’s north-eastern state of Pernambuco). Almost twice as many people attended matches in the second tier of the English football league last year than visited the so-called “land of football.”

</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">While Brazil&#8217;s tourism numbers are steadily on the rise, with 2018&#8217;s figures 1.5 million higher than 2010, the Ministry of Tourism is understandably not satisfied. This month, the government republished its </span><a href=""><span style="font-weight: 400;">2018-2022 National Tourism Plan</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, which sets the lofty goal of reaching 12 million foreign visitors per year by the end of the project.</span></p> <hr /> <p><img loading="lazy" class="alignnone size-full wp-image-17733" src="" alt="tourism brazil" width="1200" height="324" srcset=" 1200w, 300w, 768w, 1024w, 610w" sizes="(max-width: 1200px) 100vw, 1200px" /></p> <hr /> <p><img loading="lazy" class="alignnone size-full wp-image-17732" src="" alt="tourism brazil" width="1200" height="800" srcset=" 1200w, 300w, 768w, 1024w, 610w" sizes="(max-width: 1200px) 100vw, 1200px" /></p> <hr /> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Among the first practical measures taken by the current government was the </span><a href=""><span style="font-weight: 400;">lifting of visa requirements</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> for tourists from the U.S., Japan, Canada, and Australia. President Jair Bolsonaro came in for some criticism for the unilateral nature of the measure (Brazilian tourists still require visas to enter the four countries), but early numbers from the Ministry of Tourism show that some effects are beginning to surface, even before the decree comes into effect on June 17.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In one month after the measure was issued, bookings from American tourists increased a reported 53 percent, with the other three nationalities seeing even larger growth. The United States was responsible for over 500,000 tourists to Brazil last year, meaning that anything to boost this influx would help the country get closer to its targets.</span></p> <h2>What&#8217;s keeping people away?</h2> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Mega-events such as the </span><a href=""><span style="font-weight: 400;">2014 World Cup</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> and 2016 Olympic Games were useful tools to increase tourism and present a more up-to-date and welcoming view of Brazil to those coming from abroad. With host cities spread all around the country, foreigners took in lesser-explored regions of Brazil and left happy—and desperate to return.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">However, since 2016, Brazil&#8217;s political, economic, and urban crises have been all over the news, putting some foreigners off. Rio de Janeiro, so welcoming to tourists during the World Cup and Olympics, descended into a de facto civil war in recent years, with violence reaching troubling levels and the state coming under </span><a href=""><span style="font-weight: 400;">military intervention</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> in 2018.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The centralization of Brazil&#8217;s tourist attractions is another persistent issue. While the country is home to such marvels as the Amazon rainforest and the Pantanal swamplands, tourists typically stick to Rio de Janeiro, Salvador, or São Paulo. One potential reason for this lack of variety is the cost of regional travel within Brazil, as well as the scarcity of routes. A one-way flight from New York to São Paulo can cost around USD 400, but then a flight from São Paulo to the Amazonian city of Manaus could set tourists back around half of that amount, as well as requiring an extra four to five hours of travel.</span></p> <hr /> <p><img loading="lazy" class="alignnone size-full wp-image-17731" src="" alt="argentina tourists brazil" width="1200" height="612" srcset=" 1200w, 300w, 768w, 1024w, 610w" sizes="(max-width: 1200px) 100vw, 1200px" /></p> <hr /> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Recent developments in the country&#8217;s air travel market suggest that this situation could become even worse. Airline Avianca Brasil is </span><a href=""><span style="font-weight: 400;">on the brink of bankruptcy</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">; in the selling off of its assets, market leaders Gol and Latam are set to further their already suffocating grip on the sector, meaning airfares are likely to increase.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A further stick in the mud concerns a provisional decree put in place last year to </span><a href=""><span style="font-weight: 400;">open up Brazilian airlines to foreign capital</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">. While celebrated by the government, the measure has yet to be ratified by Congress and is set to expire tomorrow. Furthermore, even if confirmed, the measure is set to be amended to instate a minimum weight allowance of free luggage for passengers, a move set to frustrate low-cost airlines looking to enter the Brazilian market. </span></p> <h2>Bolsonaro says no to LGBTQ tourism</h2> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Brazil is regarded as a leading destination for LGBTQ tourism and is home to the world&#8217;s biggest Pride Parade, held every year in São Paulo. However, the current government may be about to push this population away.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">As mentioned earlier, the government republished the 2018–2022 tourism plan, which was originally issued under former President Michel Temer. The only change to this new version came in the section concerning &#8220;allowing the democratic access of priority populations to touristic activities.&#8221; The original document included an item stating the government should &#8220;adapt the sector for the inclusion of senior citizens and the LGBT population.&#8221;</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The republication removed this mention of LGBTQ tourism, leaving only senior citizens as a priority population.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Jair Bolsonaro, who is a &#8220;proud&#8221; homophobe, has recently stated that Brazil cannot be a country for gay tourism. The effects of such prejudice could put a dent in LGBTQ tourism, which is a burgeoning sector with huge financial potential. Last week, </span><b>The Brazilian Report&#8217;</b><span style="font-weight: 400;">s Juliana Costa </span><a href=""><span style="font-weight: 400;">explored how Brazil became an LGBTQ hotspot</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">.

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