Tourist: Not a Bad Word in Brazil Anymore

 Tourist: Not a Bad Word 
  in Brazil Anymore

Brazil intends to make
an effort to change world tourism
statistics which show that the country gets a measly 0.6 percent
of international travelers. The Brazilian Government, through
its Tourism Ministry, is planning to spend from 6 million to 9.5
million dollars to fund a massive ad campaign all over the world.
by: Alana
Gandra

Brazzil
Picture

The Brazilian government is planning a massive ad campaign abroad to promote
the natural and cultural beauties of the country. The ads will be presented
at 30 international fairs and 6 workshops. The objective is to give the tourism
sector a boost because it is a labor intensive sector. The ad campaign will
have a budget between US$ 6.36 million and US$ 9.5 million.

With the campaign, Brazil
will be making an effort to change world tourism statistics which show that
Brazil gets a measly 0.6 percent of international travelers. The country seeks
to get a bigger share of the world’s biggest business nowadays. Tourism is
bigger than the telecommunications and energy sectors, with revenue totaling
US$ 3.3 trillion, the equivalent of 10 percent of world GDP, reports minister
of Tourism, Walfrido Mares Guia.

Data from the UN World
Organization of Tourism, shows that 700 million people traveled in 2003, compared
to 25 million in 1950. Mares Guia says that number should reach 1 billion
by 2010.

The minister points out
that a job in the tourism industry can be created at low cost—between
US$ 4,700 and US$ 6,600. So, if Brazil is to create 1.2 million new jobs in
tourism between now and the year 2007, it will be necessary to invest US$
5.7 billion to US$ 6.6 billion.

Mares Guia says that federally-run
investment banks could cover the cost. He adds that some of the money will
have to be earmarked for training and education of workers in the tourism
industry. That, says the minister, is the only way to ensure that tourists
coming to Brazil get the best treatment possible, enjoy their stay and come
back for more.

At the end of March, Mares
Guia had announced that the tourism sector in Brazil would be getting an injection
of US$ 165.6 million this year in the form of regular ministry budgetary funding,
plus congressional amendments to the budget.

The minister also declared
that with the establishment of a Ministry of Tourism in January 2003 it has
been possible to make an adequate x-ray of the sector and direct investments
more efficiently.

The result is that the
sector has begun to show signs of recovery. The minister pointed out that
in 2003 the number of foreign visitors who came to Brazil rose 8.12 percent,
to slightly more than 4 million.

The tourism sector goal
is to reach 9 million foreign visitors annually by 2007, create 1.2 million
jobs and generate revenue of US$ 8 billion. As for the domestic tourism market,
the goal there is to reach 65 million passengers on domestic flights and offer
tourist attractions in all Brazilian states.

All Year-Round

The president of the Brazilian
Institute of Tourism (Embratur), Eduardo Sanovicz, said earlier this year
that one of the chief goals of his company is to end the problem of seasonality,
the influx of tourists limited to specific occasions, such as Carnaval.

According to Sanovicz,
two strategies were adopted to deal with the problem: work on tourism in Brazil
by themes and segments, and investments in the quality and diversity of Brazil’s
cultural production.

"Brazil has various
products for commercial competition abroad, where we work with themes such
as golf, underwater exploration, and resorts. They are products and services
that offer quality as well as prices able to attract foreign clients."

Efforts concentrated on
themes are independent of the seasons and can generate resources all year-round.
"Fairs and congresses, for example, do not depend upon specific times
of year. Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo are already well advanced in
this area," he said.

Army on the Streets

The decision to send Army
troops to Rio de Janeiro to join the fight against organized crime, especially
drug dealers, is not going to be a problem for tourists visiting the city,
said the minister of Tourism. "The Army is going to create problems for
the drug dealers, not tourists," he told reporters.

According to Mares Guia,
the presence of troops will increase security, because they will join forces
with municipal and state police and secure the city’s most important points,
once and for all.

The wave of violence in
Rio, the minister says, has not been news in the international media, except
when something remarkable happens like the recent invasion in the slum known
as Rocinha, or the burning of buses during the 2003 Carnaval.

Mares Guia cites statistics
showing that tourism in Brazil is on the rise in general and that there has
not been a downturn in Rio, in particular. And that, he says, shows that the
security situation is not scaring tourists away.

In 2002, a total of 3.8
million tourists visited Brazil. In 2003, that number rose to almost 4.2 million.
This year, expectations are for 5.1 million tourists. By 2007, there should
be around 9 million foreigners visiting Brazil annually.

Mares Guia pointed out
that a recent survey of tourists in Rio showed that they complained about
the lack of signs, substandard treatment and expensive taxis. Security was
in fifth place on the list of tourist complaints. He added that security is
a worldwide problem and that the emphasis it gets in the Brazilian media scares
Brazilians more than it scares foreigners.


Alana Gandra works for Agência Brasil (AB), the official press agency
of the Brazilian government. Comments are welcome at lia@radiobras.gov.br.

Translated
from the Portuguese by Allen Bennett.

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