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Brazil leads South American tourism charge

Brazil leads South American tourism charge

Brazil is Latin America’s fastest growing tourism economy, according to new research, with the sector’s direct contribution to GDP forecast to grow 7.8 per cent in 2012.

Research released by World Travel & Tourism (WTTC) president David Scowsill at Fórum Panrotas revealed the sector contributed US$79 billion to GDP in 2011.

This is significantly ahead of other countries in the region such as Chile and Colombia (both with growth of 4.7 per cent) and Argentina and Peru at 3.7 per cent and 3.6 per cent respectively.

When the wider indirect and induced impacts are taken into account, the industry’s contribution is nearly three times greater – approximately US$213 billion.

This is equivalent to 8.6 per cent of Brazil’s total GDP.

If the growth in Brazil is achieved, it will bring an extra US$5.5 billion for the Brazilian GDP directly from tourism and 200,000 new direct jobs in 2012.

Around 7.7 million jobs in Brazil are supported by tourism and its wider impacts.

That is nearly eight per cent of all employment in the country.

And while international tourism is doing well – visitor exports reached US$7billion in 2011 – domestic business is really driving growth. 

Domestic tourism spend grew by 6.5 per cent in 2011 to US$130 billion.

Scowsill said: “Brazil’s tourism industry is set for a great few years and I’m certain that Brazil agreeing to a number of open skies agreements have contributed to the positive growth figures.

“However, Brazil has a few hurdles to overcome with two major sport events coming up.

“In order for these events to be successful, present inadequate infrastructure must be improved. Airports currently operate at overcapacity; an unsafe port infrastructure and the lack of hotel rooms in major cities represent the main concerns for Brazil’s tourism industry in the long run-up to the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games.

“Although, the government has already started some construction work, they will need to make sure they adhere to deadlines and timetables.”

WTTC research also shows that prospects for the Latin American region in 2012 are very respectable.

Latin America will be one of the fastest growing regions in 2012 in terms of tourism’s contribution to GDP – at 6.5 per cent, behind only south Asia and north-east Asia at 6.7 per cent.

Driving this growth is a 5.2 per cent increase in capital investment in tourism – the highest growth outside Asia – and 6.1 per cent growth in visitor exports.

However, the region will have to work hard to maintain this level of growth in the long term as current forecasts show that the regions ten-year prospects are well behind other regions with tourism’s contribution to GDP forecast to grow by 4.5 per cent.