ⓘ Tourism in Brazil

Tourism in Brazil

ⓘ Tourism in Brazil

Tourism in Brazil is a growing sector and key to the economy of several regions of Brazil. The country had 6.589 million visitors in 2018, ranking in terms of the international tourist arrivals as the second main destination in South America after Argentina and third in Latin America after Mexico and Argentina. Revenues from international tourists reached US.8 billion in 2015, continuing a recovery trend from the 2008-2009 economic crisis.

Brazil offers for both domestic and international tourists an ample range of options, with natural areas being its most popular tourism product, a combination of leisure and recreation, mainly sun and beach, and adventure travel, as well as historic and cultural tourism. Among the most popular destinations are the Amazon Rainforest, beaches and dunes in the Northeast Region, the Pantanal in the Center-West Region, beaches at Rio de Janeiro and Santa Catarina, cultural and historic tourism in Minas Gerais and business trips to São Paulo city.

In terms of the 2015 Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index TTCI, which is a measurement of the factors that make it attractive to develop business in the travel and tourism industry of individual countries, Brazil ranked in the 28st place at the worlds level, third in the Americas, after Canada and United States. Brazil main competitive advantages are its natural resources, which ranked 1st on this criteria out of all countries considered, and ranked 23rd for its cultural resources, due to its many World Heritage sites. The 2013 TTCI report also notes Brazils main weaknesses: its ground transport infrastructure remains underdeveloped ranked 129th, with the quality of roads ranking in the 121st place, and quality of air transport infrastructure in 131st; and the country continues to suffer from a lack of price competitiveness ranked 126th, due in part to high and increasing ticket taxes and airport charges, as well as high and rising prices more generally. Safety and security improved significantly between 2008 and 2013, moving from 128th to 73rd place, before slipping to 106th by 2017.

Foreign tourists mainly come from Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Costa Rica, Mexico, Cuba, Dominican Republic, the United States, Canada, China, South Korea, Japan, Australia, Chile, Spain, Italy, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Greece, Ireland, the Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, Portugal, and Russia.


1. International tourism

According to the World Tourism Organization), international travel to Brazil began to grow fast since 2000, particularly during 2004 and 2005. However, in 2006 a slow down took place, and international arrivals have had almost no growth both in 2007 and 2008. In spite of this trend, revenues from international tourism continued to rise, from USD 3.9 billion in 2005 to USD 4.9 billion in 2007, a one billion dollar increase despite 333 thousand less arrivals. This favorable trend is the result of the strong devaluation of the American dollar against the Brazilian real, which began in 2004, but on the other hand, making Brazil a more expensive international destination. This trend changed in 2009, when both visitors and revenues fell as a result of the 2008-2009 economic crisis. By 2010, the industry recovered, and arrivals grew above 2006 levels to 5.16 million international visitors, and receipts from these visitors reached USD 5.9 billion. In 2012, the historical record was reached with 5.6 million visitors and US$6.6 billion in receipts.

Despite continuing record breaking of international tourism revenues, the number of Brazilian tourists travelling overseas has been growing steadily since 2003, resulting in a net negative foreign exchange balance, as more money is spent abroad by Brazilian than receipts from international tourist visiting Brazil. Tourism expenditures abroad grew from USD 5.76 billion in 2006, to USD 8.21 billion in 2007, a 42.45% increase, representing a net deficit of USD 3.26 billion in 2007, as compared to USD 1.45 billion in 2006, a 125% increase from the previous year. This trend is caused by Brazilians taking advantage of the stronger Real to travel and making relatively cheaper expenditures abroad. Brazilian traveling overseas in 2006 represented 3.9% of the countrys population.

In 2005, tourism contributed with 3.2% of the countrys revenues from exports of goods and services, and represented 7% of direct and indirect employment in the Brazilian economy. In 2006, direct employment in the sector reached 1.87 million people. Domestic tourism is a fundamental market segment for the industry, as 51 million traveled throughout the country in 2005, and direct revenues from Brazilian tourists reached USD 21.8 billion, 5.6 times more receipts than international tourists in 2005.

In 2005, Rio de Janeiro, Foz do Iguaçu, São Paulo, Florianopolis, and Salvador were the most visited cities by international tourists for leisure trips. The most popular destinations for business trips were São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, and Porto Alegre. In 2006, Rio de Janeiro and Fortaleza were the most popular destinations by national visitors.


1.1. International tourism Comparison with other Latin American destinations

The following is a comparative summary of Brazils tourism industry key performance indicators as compared with countries considered among the most popular destinations in Latin America, and relevant economic indicators are included to show the relative importance that international tourism has on the economy of the selected countries.

  • Notes: Green shadow denotes the country with the top indicator. Yellow shadow corresponds to Brazilian indicators. 1 Visitors and receipts for Cuba correspond to 2011.

1.2. International tourism Tourist visa

Tourist visa requirements have been waived for citizens of Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Bolivia, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Guyana, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macau, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Monaco, Namibia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Russia, San Marino, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Surinam, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Trinidad & Tobago, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Vatican City, Venezuela.

Tourist visas also applies to lecturers at conferences, for visiting relatives and/or friends, unpaid participation in athletic or artistic event or competition in this case an invitation letter from the sponsoring organization in Brazil is required, and unpaid participation in a scientific/academic seminar or conference sponsored by a research or academic institution in this case an invitation letter from the sponsoring organization in Brazil is required.


2. Paleontological Tourism

Geopark Paleorrota is the main area of geotourism in Rio Grande do Sul and one of the most important in Brazil. With 83.000 km² inside 281.000 km² of the state, where many fossils of the Permian and Triassic period, with ages ranging between 210 and 290 million years ago, when there were only the continent Pangaea.

In the region Metropolitan Porto Alegre there are 5 museums to visit. In Paleorrota Geopark there are 7 museums, the Palaeobotanical Garden in Mata and the Paleontological Sites of Santa Maria to be visited. The BR-287, nicknamed Highway of Dinosaurs, crosses 17 of 41 municipalities of the geopark.


3. Domestic tourism

Domestic tourism is a key market segment for the tourism industry in Brazil. In 2005, 51 million Brazilian nationals made ten times more trips than foreign tourists and spent five times more money than their international counterparts. The main destination states in 2005 were São Paulo 27.7%, Minas Gerais 10.8%, Rio de Janeiro 8.4%, Bahia 7.4%, and Santa Catarina 7.2%. The top three states by trip origin were São Paulo 35.7%, Minas Gerais 13.6%.

In terms of tourism revenues, the top earners by state were São Paulo 16.4% and Bahia 11.7%. For 2005, the three main trip purposes were visiting friends and family 53.1%, sun and beach 40.8%, and cultural tourism 12.5%.


4.1. Tourism by regions of Brazil Southeast Region

  • Espirito Santo: Vitoria, Vila Velha, Guarapari, Anchieta, Piuma, Marataizes, Domingos Martins, Santa Teresa
  • São Paulo
  • Minas Gerais: Belo Horizonte, Sabara, Ouro Preto, Congonhas, Mariana, Lavras, São João del Rei, Tiradentes, Diamantina, Araxa, Caxambu, São Lourenço, São Thome das Letras, Caparao National Park, Pico da Bandeira, Serra do Cipo National Park
  • São Paulo State: São Sebastião, Ilhabela, Boiçucanga, Poa, Guararema, Guaruja, Santos, Iguape, Cananeia, São Vicente, Campos do Jordão, Campinas, Ribeirão Preto, São Jose dos Campos, Sorocaba, Americana, Araçatuba, Araraquara, Araras, Atibaia, Barretos, Birigui, Botucatu, Bragança Paulista, Itu, Jau
  • Rio de Janeiro State: Angra dos Reis, Paraty, Resende, Visconde de Maua, Itatiaia National Park, Petropolis, Vassouras, Teresopolis, Serra dos Orgãos, Nova Friburgo, Saquarema, Arraial do Cabo, Cabo Frio, Buzios, Ilha Grande
  • Rio de Janeiro


4.2. Tourism by regions of Brazil Southern Region

  • Parana: Curitiba, Morretes, Antonina, Paranagua, Ilha do Mel, Superagui National Park, Foz do Iguaçu, Iguaçu Falls, Guaratuba
  • Santa Catarina: Florianopolis, Ilha de Santa Catarina, Joinville, Blumenau, Itapema, Itajai, Balneario Camboriu
  • Rio Grande do Sul: Porto Alegre, Torres, Aparados da Serra National Park, Serra Gaucha, Canela, Gramado, Paleorrota

4.3. Tourism by regions of Brazil Center-West Region

  • Mato Grosso do Sul: Campo Grande, Corumba, Bonito, Ponta Porã, Aquidauana, Coxim, Jardim
  • Distrito Federal: Brasilia
  • Goias: Goiania, Chapada dos Veadeiros National Park, Pirenopolis, Goias Velho, Caldas Novas, Emas National Park, Araguaia River
  • Mato Grosso: Cuiaba, The Pantanal, Chapada dos Guimarães National Park, Tangara da Serra Waterfall Leap of the Clouds Salto das Nuvens, Barra do Garças, Alta Floresta, Caceres, Barão de Melgaço, Pocone

4.4. Tourism by regions of Brazil Northeast Region

  • Maranhão: São Luis, Lençois Maranhenses National Park, Alcantara, Imperatriz, Carolina
  • Rio Grande do Norte: Natal, Mossoro, Tibau do Sul, Tibau, Parnamirim, Touros, São Miguel do Gostoso, Galinhos, Caico, Macau, Martins, Maxaranguape, Cape São Roque
  • Sergipe: Aracaju, Laranjeiras, São Cristovão, Estancia, Propria
  • Pernambuco: Recife, Olinda, Itamaraca, Igarassu, Caruaru, Porto de Galinhas, New Jerusalem, Garanhuns, Triunfo, Fernando de Noronha, Catimbau Valley, Petrolina
  • Ceara: Fortaleza, Aracati, Canoa Quebrada, Jericoacoara, Tatajuba, Camocim, Sobral, Baturite, Ubajara National Park, Juazeiro do Norte
  • Paraiba: João Pessoa, Campina Grande, Cabedelo, Inga, Baia da Traição, Sousa
  • Bahia: Salvador, Cachoeira, Lençois, Morro de São Paulo, Ilheus, Itacare, Porto Seguro, Arraial dAjuda, Trancoso, Chapada Diamantina National Park, Abrolhos Marine National Park
  • Alagoas: Maceio, Maragogi, Penedo, Barra de São Miguel, Paripueira, Porto de Pedras
  • Piaui: Teresina, Sete Cidades National Park, Parnaiba, Serra da Capivara National Park

4.5. Tourism by regions of Brazil North Region

  • Amazonas: Manaus, Parintins, Tefe, Mamiraua
  • Para: Belem, Ilha de Marajo, Santarem
  • Tocantins: Palmas, Ilha do Bananal, Natividade
  • Rondonia: Porto Velho, Guajara-Mirim, Guapore Valley
  • Amapa: Macapa, Oiapoque
  • Acre: Rio Branco, Xapuri, Brasileia, Assis Brasil
  • Roraima: Boa Vista, Monte Roraima
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