This year, from January to August, Brazil’s tourism revenue rose 36.5%, compared to the same period last year. According to the Brazilian Central Bank, tourists brought a total of US$ 2.1 billion to Brazil, compared to US$ 1.5 billion during the same period last year.
The really good news, according to minister of Tourism, Walfrido dos Mares Guia, is that the incoming revenue has been much more than what Brazilians are spending abroad.
Mares Guia points out that for decades Brazil has had a “tourism account deficit,” but that finally there is a surplus, which this year should reach US$ 450 million.
The Minister says his sector priorities are investing in tourism promotion abroad and training personnel domestically, besides the US$ 69.4 million (200 million reais) budget for the 2007 Pan American games which will take place in Rio de Janeiro.
Tourism Sector Optimistic
Businessmen in Brazil’s tourism sector are optimistic about the coming months. A survey released by the Ministry of Tourism at the end of August shows that 63% of those interviewed expect more business and revenue in hotels and tourist agencies. The survey was conducted by the Fundação Getulio Vargas and interviewed 821 businesses.
Minister of Tourism, Walfrido Mares Guia, says the optimism is based on three factors: strong performance in foreign trade, a domestic surplus and inflation control. He also says that the announcement of US$ 847 million (2.5 billion reais) for highway repairs was good news for the sector.
As for foreign visitors, the Minister says he expects an increase of around 25%. That means that after 4.1 million visitors in 2003, there should be some 5 million this year.
“We have to invest in training people to deal with tourists who come to Brazil,” said Mares Guia.
The Ministry of Tourism reports that the biggest complaints foreign tourists have are about the lack of signs in tourist locations, the fact that those locations are often dirty and problems with taxis and security. Domestic tourists (Brazilians) say the biggest problem is highway repair.