Rio de Janeiro remains Brazil’s most popular tourist destination. And Americans continue to be the largest group of foreign tourists who visit the country, although more Europeans are coming all the time.
According to the Tourism Corporation (Embratur), in 2001 a total of 1.3 million tourists visited Rio. In 2002 that number rose to 1.4 million, and 1.5 million in 2003. Each year slightly over 33% of all foreign tourists visit Rio de Janeiro.
In 2004 there was a strong increase in foreign tourists visiting Rio and it is estimated that the final number for the year will be around 1.8 million.
As for this year’s tourist season in the city (summer in Brazil begins with the Christmas and New Year holidays), the president of the country’s tourist agent association, Carlos Alberto Ferreira, says the “marvelous city” should be host to a total of around 2.4 million tourists, including Brazilians.
The Rio secretary of Tourism, Sergio Ricardo de Almeida, says he expects the sector to continue growing in 2005.
He is enthusiastic about more tourists coming from Scandinavia and Russia, and the newly inaugurated direct flights between Brazil and China.
“There are 25 million Chinese who go abroad as tourists,” says Almeida.
He also adds that this year is Brazil Year in France, which should help the sector. Finally, Almeida points out, there will be a lot of tourists coming to Rio from Mercosur countries.
Translation: Allen Bennett