At least thus far, the Brazilian hotel sector as a whole has not been affected by the external crisis. "We did not even have any cancellations. Tourism in general in Brazil should do well until after Carnival, which is our high season," said, in the city of Rio de Janeiro, the president at the Brazilian Hotel Industry Association (ABIH), Àlvaro Bezerra de Mello.
According to him, the reduction in foreign tourist inflow this year, prompted by the appreciation of the real (Brazilian currency), led the hotel industry to seek opportunities in the crisis. The high-priced dollar renders Brazilians unable to travel abroad, therefore the sector is promoting domestic tourism. And the results have been satisfactory. "This internal tourist flow is really helping right now."
Late this year, occupation rates so far have been "exceptional," said Bezerra de Mello. Hotels in Rio de Janeiro have over 90% of rooms taken. "We had not had such good occupancy for a long time."
Currently, the industry is working with 85% of national tourists and 15% of foreigners. He emphasized that it should take some time before international tourists find out that traveling to Brazil has become cheaper, due to the depreciation of the currency.
The effort to communicate this fact must be undertaken jointly, involving the government, businessmen, travel agencies and the Brazilian Tourism Institute (Embratur).
The president at the ABIH believes that the movement should remain good up until the Carnival champions' parade, due in late February 2009.
The highlights are coastal cities Rio de Janeiro, Salvador, Recife, Ilha Bela, Angra dos Reis. Bezerra underscored that the goal right now is to start working so as to prepare for the post-Carnival period, as well as the 2014 FIFA World Cup, to be held in Brazil.
ílvaro Bezerra believes that after the World Cup, "Brazil is going to take off. It happened in Barcelona, it happened in Sidney." In 2009, however, the ABIH believes that domestic tourists should continue to prevail in Brazilian hotels.