Brazil cannot rely on the FIFA 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games to stimulate international visitors World Travel & Tourism Council president David Scowsill has warned in a wide ranging speech on the issue.
Scowsill explained: “Tourism is making a major contribution to that exciting economic growth, but there remains much to be done with infrastructure build and marketing the country to international markets.
“This is a dynamic time for Brazil - exports are booming in one of the fastest growing major economies in the world.
“Economic reforms have given the country new international recognition and influence.
Scowsill was speaking at PANROTAS in Sao Paolo.
Tourism made a total contribution to Brazil’s GDP in 2012 of 402 billion reals, which was nine per cent of the - more than that of the chemicals manufacturing industry which stands at seven per cent and the mining sector which contributes 6.7 per cent.
In terms of direct contribution to GDP, tourism is almost twice the size of the automotive manufacturing sector in Brazil, supporting eight million direct, indirect and induced jobs in 2012.
Brazil ranks second in Latin America in terms of the flow of international tourists, but the domestic market represents the bulk of the industry, accounting for over 50 million trips annually.
Mexico is ahead of Brazil, attracting 22 million visitors per year, compared to Brazil’s 5.2 million.
France receives 76.8 million visitors a year and the USA 60 million.
Brazilians’ spending on trips abroad rose by 50 per cent in 2010 and 30 per cent in 2011.
Scowsill continued: “Brazilians are taking advantage of the stronger Real to travel, which is good news for the tourism industry elsewhere, but not good news for Brazil.
“Some 5.2 million international tourism arrivals per annum is low for a country the size of Brazil which has so much to offer visitors in terms of natural diversity – from rainforests, World Heritage sites, and eco-tourism, to beaches, adventure travel, history, culture and city experiences.
“The World Cup in 2014 and Olympics in 2016 will be four week bursts of intensity in terms of overseas visitors, but cannot be relied upon to be the sole drivers of international visitor growth in the future.
“The Brazilian tourism industry has to act and speak as one voice to tell the rest of the world about this wonderful country and everything it has to offer and put it firmly on the international tourist map.”