According to the Brazilian Central Bank, foreign tourists spent US$ 2.195 billion in Brazil between January and June this year.
The value is greater than the total annual value in any year up to 2002, when revenues added up to US$ 1.998 billion, and is close to the total in 2003, which reached US$ 2.479 billion.
The information includes spending on international credit cards and official money exchanges. The value registered on the first half of the year is 17.51% above the total registered in the same period in 2005, when it added up to US$ 1.868 billion.
Last year tourists around the world spent US$ 800 billion, according to statistics released recently by the World Tourism Organization. Nearly US$ 700 billion were spent in air transportation, an increase in 3.5% in comparison to 2004.
According to the World Tourism Organization, Europe is still the main tourism destination and also where tourists spend the most, with nearly half world expenditure in tourism. In Latin America, however, spending has been increasing and the region is amongst those that invest the most in the sector.
The tourism sector should generate 1.2 million direct and indirect jobs in Brazil up to the end of 2007. According to the minister of Tourism, Walfrido dos Mares Guia, since 2003 there have been more than 600,000 work posts created. The estimate is that this year will be closed with the opening of another 310,000 positions.
Creating work posts is one of the aims of the National Tourism Plan, launched in April 2003, after being debated with the private sector.
"The private sector understands and appreciates the effort made in the president Lula government for developing tourism, which means generating jobs, distributing income and attract resources," stated the minister