In the tropics, Brazil occupies an area of 8.5 million square kilometers (3.3 million square miles), close to 8,800 kilometers (5,500 miles) of beaches and houses one of the largest biodiversities in the planet. No surprise that over the last few years, ecotourism and adventure tourism in Brazilian territory grew, became professionalized and gained international renown.
Proof of that is the fact that the country has been named the best destination for adventurers and radical sports fans in 2009 by the National Geographic Adventure magazine.
The magazine, which has more than 2.4 million readers worldwide, placed strong emphasis on Fernando de Noronha, and also listed the most sought destinations in the Amazon, Chapada Diamantina, Chapada dos Veadeiros, Chapada dos Guimarães, Estrada Real, Florianópolis, Foz do Iguaçu, Mata Atlântica, Jalapão, Serras Gaúchas, Lençóis Maranhenses and Pantanal.
Last year, the adventure tourism industry attracted 4 million tourists, Brazilian and foreign, and generated approximately 490 million reais (US$ 267 million) in revenues, according to the Brazilian Association of Ecotourism and Adventure Tourism Companies (Abeta).
"We are regularly visited by tourists from Argentina, European countries (France, Spain, Italy and England), the United States and Canada," says Jena-Claude Razel, the president of the Abeta.
The domestic market already counts on roughly 1,500 companies spread across the country's foremost adventure hubs. The organization estimates the industry's growth rate to be from 15% to 20% per year. According to International Tourist Demand, a survey commissioned by the Brazilian Tourism Institute (Embratur) and conducted by the Economic Research Institute Foundation (Fipe), 19.5% of the foreign tourists who visited the country on leisure trips in 2006 claimed to have chosen the country for its ‘Nature, Ecotourism or Adventure.'
The sectors expansion and notoriety are certainly the result of a joint effort between the government and the private initiative. One example is the partnership between the Abeta and the Brazilian Ministry of Tourism, which have created the "Aventura Segura" (Safe Adventure) program, geared at consolidating the segment as a safe activity to Brazilian and foreign tourists.
"Currently , the program involves 4,840 people qualified at 16 tourist destinations in 13 different states of Brazil," says Razel. The program offers courses in Business Management, Safety Management System and Minimum Competences for Drivers, First Aid and Training Course for Volunteers in Search and Rescue.
The Safe Adventure program, which involves more than 100 municipalities, also counts on the participation of 480 companies. Besides, 13 voluntary search and rescue groups have been created. Currently, adventure tourism has 24 technical norms that have been created and published by the ABNT.
During the 4th Tourism Salon, held in July, out of 1,700 people interviewed, 34.3% stated that Ecotourism and Adventure Tourism would be among the activities in their coming trips, second only to Sun and Beach Tourism, with 52.1%.
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From September 10th to 13th the Abeta Summit, the largest Adventure Tourism Meeting of Latin America should take place at Imigrantes Exhibition center, in São Paulo (SP), in the sidelines of the Adventure Sports Fair. Promoted in partnership with the Ministry of Tourism and the Brazilian Tourism Institute (Embratur) and having as its theme "Learn-Innovate-Sell", the 2009 edition brings to Brazil the main global leaderships in Adventure Tourism.
This year it is estimated that there should be a 25% increase in the number of international operators at the business meetings. "We will have participation of 30 countries and international buyers from 16 countries," pointed out the Abeta president.
The event already has over 80 international buyers who have confirmed presence at the Business Roundtables, which are sponsored by the National Sebrae and have the support of the Brazilian Association of Tourism Operators (Braztoa).
Registration may be done on site http://www.abeta.com.br/summit