Tourism in Brazil
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Tourism in Brazil
Rio de Janeiro, the most visited destination in Brazil by foreign tourists for leisure trips, and second place for business travel.

Tourism in Brazil is a growing sector and key to the economy of several regions of Brazil. The country had 6.36 million visitors in 2015, ranking in terms of the international tourist arrivals as the main destination in South America and second in Latin America after Mexico.[1] Revenues from international tourists reached US$5.8 billion in 2015, continuing a recovery trend from the 2008-2009 economic crisis.[2]

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.[3]

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 world's level, third in the Americas, after Canada and United States.[4][5] 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 Brazil's 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[5], before slipping to 106th by 2017.[6]

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

International tourism

Historical international tourism arrivals
Year International
1995[7][8] 1,991 - 972 -
2000[7][8] 5,313 - 1,810 -
2003[7][8] 4,133 - 2,479 -
2004[7][8] 4,794 16.0 3,222 30.0
2005[9] 5,358 11.8 3,861 19.8
2006[9] 5,019 -6.3 4,316 1.1
2007[10][11] 5,025 0.1 4,953 14.8
2008[12][13] 5,050 0.5 5,780 16.7
2009[14] 4,802 -4.9 5,305 -8.2
2010[2][15] 5,161 7.5 5,702 7.5
2011[2] 5,433 5.3 6,555 14.9
2012[2] 5,677 4.5 6,645 1.3
2013[16] 5,813 2.4 6,704 0.9
2014 6,430 n/a n/a n/a
2015 6,306 n/a n/a n/a
2016 6,578 n/a n/a n/a
Salvador, capital of Bahia state, is the center of Afro-Brazilian culture, and one of the top destinations by Brazilian nationals and international tourists.
Fortaleza, capital of Ceará state, is one of the top destinations for business and also for a holiday on its amazing beaches.
Iguazu Falls, Paraná, in Brazil-Argentina border, is the second most popular destination for foreign tourists who come to Brazil for pleasure.
São Paulo, the financial capital of Brazil is one of the most sought after places in tourism by having different cultures and races.
The colonial city of Ouro Preto, a World Heritage Site, is one of the most popular destinations in Minas Gerais.

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.[9][12][17][18] 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.[19] This trend changed in 2009, when both visitors and revenues fell as a result of the 2008-2009 economic crisis.[14] 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.[15] In 2012, the historical record was reached with 5.6 million visitors and US$6.6 billion in receipts.[2]

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.[20] This trend is caused by Brazilians taking advantage of the stronger Real to travel and making relatively cheaper expenditures abroad.[20] Brazilian traveling overseas in 2006 represented 3.9% of the country's population.[21]

In 2005, tourism contributed with 3.2% of the country's revenues from exports of goods and services, and represented 7% of direct and indirect employment in the Brazilian economy.[22] In 2006, direct employment in the sector reached 1.87 million people.[23] Domestic tourism is a fundamental market segment for the industry, as 51 million traveled throughout the country in 2005,[24] and direct revenues from Brazilian tourists reached USD 21.8 billion,[25] 5.6 times more receipts than international tourists in 2005.

In 2005, Rio de Janeiro, Foz do Iguaçu, São Paulo, Florianópolis, 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.[26] In 2006, Rio de Janeiro and Fortaleza were the most popular destinations by national visitors.[27]

Main destinations visited by international tourists in 2013[28] Top 15 ranking by number of visitors
Destination State
1st Rio de Janeiro RJ
2nd São Paulo SP
3rd Foz do Iguaçu PR
4th Salvador BA
5th Brasília DF
6th Porto Alegre RS
7th Búzios RJ
8th Manaus AM
9th Florianópolis SC
10th Fortaleza CE
11th Belo Horizonte MG
12th Curitiba PR
13th Natal RN
14th Recife PE
15th Campinas SP

Arrivals by country of origin

Most international visitors in 2016 came from Argentina (34.9%) and the United States (8.7%). In terms of region of origin, most international visitors came from neighboring South American countries with 3,732,722 visitor (56.7%), mainly from Mercosul. In total, there were 6,578,074 international arrivals. Top international arrivals by country of origin for 2012-2016 are presented in the following table:

Top 20 visitor arrivals to Brazil by country of origin in 2012[29] - 2016[30]
of origin
% Total
of origin
% Total
1  Argentina 2,294,900 1,671,604 Increase 37.3% 11  Spain 147,846 180,406 Decrease -18.0%
2  United States 570,350 586,463 Decrease -2.7% 12  Bolivia 138,106 112,639 Increase 22.6%
3  Paraguay 316,714 246,401 Increase 28.5% 13  Colombia 135,192 100,324 Increase 34.8%
4  Chile 311,813 250,586 Increase 24.4% 14  Peru 114,276 91,996 Increase 24.2%
5  Uruguay 284,113 253,864 Increase 11.9% 15  Mexico 94,609 61,658 Increase 53.4%
6  France 263,774 218,626 Increase 20.7% 16  Japan 79,754 73,102 Increase 9.1%
7  Germany 221,513 258,437 Decrease -14.3% 17  Netherlands 72,268 73,133 Decrease -1.2%
8  United Kingdom 202,671 155,548 Increase 30.3% 18  Canada 70,103 68,462 Increase 2.4%
9  Italy 181,493 230,114 Decrease-21.1% 19   Switzerland 69,074 69,571 Decrease -0.7%
10  Portugal 149,968 168,649 Decrease -11.1% 20  Australia 49,809 43,161 Increase 15.4%
Visitor arrivals by region of origin in 2016 (Top 4)
1 South America 3,732,722 2,822,519 Increase 32.2% 3 North America 735,062 716,583 Increase 2.6%
2 Europe 1,606,495 1,652,205 Decrease -2.8% 4 Asia 304,786 297,032 Increase 2.6%

Comparison with other Latin American destinations

The following is a comparative summary of Brazil's 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.

Caribbean and
Latin American
(col 2)/(col 1)
per 1000 pop.
as %
of exports
goods and
as %
% Direct &
in tourism[5][22]
 Argentina 5,599 4,895 874 115 57 7.4 10.5 9.9 61 4.17
 Brazil 5,677 6,645 1,170 26 18 3.2 8.9 8.1 51 4.37
 Chile 3,554 2,201 619 151 73 5.3 8.4 8.0 56 4.29
 Colombia 2,175 2,351 1,081 26 25 6.6 5.1 5.5 84 3.90
 Costa Rica 2,343 2,425 1,035 442 343 17.5 12.5 11.7 47 4.44
 Cuba(1) 2,688 2,283 849 188 169 n/d n/d n/d n/d n/d
 Dominican Republic 4,563 4,549 997 408 353 36.2 14.7 13.6 86 3.88
 Jamaica 1,986 2,043 1,029 628 530 49.2 25.7 23.8 67 4.08
 Mexico 23,403 12,739 544 201 103 5.7 12.4 13.7 44 4.46
 Panama 1,606 2,259 1,406 330 211 10.6 10.1 9.6 37 4.54
 Peru 2,846 2,657 933 65 41 9.0 9.1 7.8 73 4.00
 Uruguay 2,695 2,076 770 525 145 14.2 10.2 9.7 59 4.23
  • 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..

Tourist visa

Arraial do Cabo, Rio de Janeiro.

Tourist visa requirements have been waived for citizens of Andorra, Argentina, Austria, Bahamas, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Bolivia, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Denmark, Ecuador, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Guyana, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macau, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Monaco, Namibia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, San Marino, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Surinam, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Trinidad & Tobago, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, 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).[32]

Paleontological Tourism

Tourism in Paleorrota Geopark

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.

Domestic tourism

Amazon Rainforest in Manaus, is a popular ecotourism destination.

Domestic tourism is a key market segment for the tourism industry in Brazil. In 2005, 51 million Brazilian nationals[24] 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%).[24]

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%).[21]

Tourism by regions of Brazil

Southeast Region

Santinho Beach, at Santa Catarina island, Florianópolis. The beaches in Santa Catarina's littoral are one of the main destination for Argentine tourists.
Snorkeling in the city of Bonito, Mato Grosso do Sul. The rivers in the region are known for their crystal clear waters.

Southern Region

Center-West Region

Northeast Region

North Region

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "UNWTO Tourism Highlights, 2013 Edition" (PDF). World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). June 2013. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-11-27. Retrieved .pp. 10
  3. ^ Guilherme Lohmann Palhares (2012). Tourism in Brazil: Environment, Management and Segments. Routledge. p. 126. ISBN 978-0-415-67432-4.
  4. ^ "The Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report 2015" (PDF). World Economic Forum. May 2015.
  5. ^ a b c d e f Jennifer Blanke and Thea Chiesa, Editors (2013). "Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report 2013" (PDF). World Economic Forum, Geneva, Switzerland. Retrieved .See Table 4, pp. 18-19 and Country/Economy Profile: Brazil, pp. 116-117.
  6. ^ "The Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report 2017" (PDF). World Economic Forum. April 2017.
  7. ^ a b c d World Tourism Organization (2005). "Tourism Market Trends, Annex 5, 2005 Edition" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-02-20. Retrieved .
  8. ^ a b c d e World Tourism Organization (2006). "Tourism Market Trends, Annex 12, 2006 Edition" (PDF). (Data corresponds to 2005). Retrieved .
  9. ^ a b c World Tourism Organization (2007). "UNWTO Tourism Highlights, Edition 2007" (PDF). UNWTO. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-04-09. Retrieved .
  10. ^ EMBRATUR (2008). "Principais Emissores de Turistas para o Brasil 2006-2007" (in Portuguese). Ministério de Turismo. Archived from the original on 2011-05-29. Retrieved .
  11. ^ Facultade Getúlio Vargas (2008). "Boletim de Desempenho Econômico do Turismo" (in Portuguese). Ministério de Turismo. Archived from the original on 2011-05-29. Retrieved .Janeiro 2008, Ano v, nº 17, pp. 2
  12. ^ a b EMBRATUR (2009). "Anuário Estatístico de Turismo 2009" (in Portuguese). Ministério de Turismo. Retrieved .See tables 1.1 and 3.8
  13. ^ Adair de Oliveira Júnior (2009-01-27). "Gasto de turistas estrangeiros registra recorde em 2008". Centro de Excelência em Turismo, UNB. Retrieved . Source Brazilian Central Bank
  14. ^ a b "UNTWO Tourism Highlights 2010 Edition". World Tourism Organization. 2010. Archived from the original on 2013-06-07. Retrieved .Click on the link "UNWTO Tourism Highlights" to access the pdf report.
  15. ^ a b "UNWTO Tourism Highlights - 2011 Edition" (PDF). World Tourism Organization. June 2011. Retrieved .
  16. ^ ""UNWTO Tourism Highlights, 2015 Edition". World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). Archived from the original on 2017-10-24. Retrieved .pp.10
  17. ^ a b World Tourism Organization (2008). "UNWTO World Tourism Barometer June 2008" (PDF). UNWTO. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2008-10-31. Retrieved . Data corresponds to 2007
  18. ^ The World Tourism Organization. "Tourism Highlights 2006 [pdf]" (PDF). Retrieved .
  19. ^ Facultade Getúlio Vargas (2007). "Boletim de Desempenho Econômico do Turismo" (PDF) (in Portuguese). Ministério de Turismo. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2008-10-03. Retrieved .Fevereiro 2007, Ano IV, nº 13, pp. 3
  20. ^ a b Facultade Getúlio Vargas (2008). "Pesquisa Anual de Conjuntura Econômica do Turismo" (PDF) (in Portuguese). Ministério de Turismo. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2008-10-03. Retrieved .Março 2008, Ano IV, pp. 11
  21. ^ a b Fundação Instituto de Pesquisas Econômicas e EMBRATUR (2006). "Caracterização e Dimensionamento do Turismo Domêstico no Brasil 2002 e 2006: Metodologia e Desenvolvimento" (PDF) (in Portuguese). Ministério do Turismo. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2006-11-30. Retrieved .
  22. ^ a b c d Carmen Altés (2006). "El Turismo en América Latina y el Caribe y la experiencia del BID" (in Spanish). Inter-American Development Bank; Sustainable Development Department, Technical Paper Series ENV-149, Washington, D.C. p. 9 and 47. Retrieved .
  23. ^ Margerida Coelho (2008). "Distribução Espacial da Ocupação no Setor de Turismo: Brasil e Regiões" (PDF) (in Portuguese). Instituto de Pesquisa Econômica Aplicada. Retrieved .
  24. ^ a b c Fundação Instituto de Pesquisas Econômicas (2007). "Caracterização e Dimensionamento do Turismo Domêstico no Brasil 2002 e 2006" (PDF) (in Portuguese). Ministério do Turismo. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2008-10-03. Retrieved .
  25. ^ Diretoria de Turismo (2006). "Boletim Anual São Paulo Turismo" (PDF) (in Portuguese). Prefeitura de São Paulo. Retrieved .[dead link] see 2.1.3 "Receitas setor trurístico 2005".
  26. ^ EMBRATUR (2006). "Anúario Estatístico Volume 33 2006" (PDF) (in Portuguese). Ministério do Turismo. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2008-09-09. Retrieved . Tables 4.1 a 4.4: Summary Brasil by trip purpose 2004-2005
  27. ^ "Aguarde, estamos redirecionando o site". Retrieved .
  28. ^ TOP 15 Destinations in Brazil by Foreigners (in Portuguese)
  29. ^ Ministério de Turismo (2013). "Anuário Estatístico de Turismo 2013" [Tourism Statistic Yearbook 2013] (PDF) (in Portuguese). Ministério de Turismo. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-04-19. Retrieved .Year base 2012. See Table 1.1: Tourist Arrivales to Brazil
  30. ^ "Anuário Estatístico de Turismo 2017 - Ano Base 2016". Archived from the original on 2017-09-09. Retrieved .
  31. ^ United Nations. "UNData. Country profiles (1999-2005)". Retrieved .Population estimated for 2007 (search values for each country profile)
  32. ^ Tourist Via - Brazil

External links

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