The Brazilian government, led by President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, has set a goal to increase the number of foreign tourists visiting the country to 8.1 million annually by 2027, more than double the current figure.
In 2018, Brazil welcomed 6.6 million international visitors, the highest number recorded. However, this number has decreased due to the ongoing pandemic and health restrictions, with only 3.6 million tourists visiting the country in 2022.
The government's plans for the next four years are outlined in the Multiannual Plan (PPA), submitted to the National Congress. Marcelo Freixo, the president of Embratur, has provided further details on these goals.
Recovering Tourism Numbers
The Brazilian government aims to attract $9 billion in international tourism spending by 2027, an increase of almost 80% from last year.
According to Freixo, several factors help explain this growth perspective in Brazilian inbound tourism. He mentions the "recovery of the image" of the country, with less controversy in foreign policy, and the still favorable cost for visitors (with the real still entirely depreciated against the dollar).
Besides connecting the air network and focusing on promotional fairs abroad, Embratur's president also identified two other necessary steps to attract more tourists.
Embratur has defined 25 strategic source markets, categorized into three groups to support its actions. The first group includes neighboring countries like Argentina, focusing on exploring regional destinations and developing specific offers. The second group comprises growth or consolidation markets of European countries, the United States, Mexico, and Peru. The third group includes Japan, China, Canada, and Australia, which are exploratory markets with good prospects for long-term growth.
New Air Routes
In the case of the air network, Freixo's forecast is for 65,000 international flights to and from Brazil this year, an increase of 40% from last year. There will be around three million additional seats.
Among the new routes are São Paulo-London (by Virgin Atlantic), São Paulo-Johannesburg (by LATAM and South African Airways), JetSMART operations (to Chile), and Sky Airlines (Chile, Peru, and Uruguay).
Whatever the reasons, the figures for Brazilian tourism in 2023 are already up-and-coming. From January to August, around 4 million foreign tourists entered the country - a figure that already exceeds that recorded last year and also what was seen just before the pandemic. International tourism revenues were US$ 4.4 billion (38% more than in the first eight months of 2022).
Entry Visas Are Back
Starting January 1st, 2024, Brazil will reintroduce visa requirements for tourists traveling from the United States, Canada, and Australia. These countries and Japan were previously exempt from visa requirements under former President Jair Bolsonaro's government.
To restore a historical position, President Lula demanded reciprocity. As a result, citizens of these four countries will now require a visa to enter Brazil.
However, Brazil and Japan have recently agreed to waive visas for tourists who plan to stay up to 90 days.
On the other hand, Brazil's visa application and granting process will be done entirely online in some cases. This means there will be no need to visit the Brazilian consulate in person. Therefore, critics' claims of increased bureaucracy and reduced tourism attraction are unfounded, as foreign tourists are still likely to visit Brazil.
Stopover in Brazil
Brazil's Ministry of Tourism, in collaboration with airlines and the Ministry of Ports and Airports, has launched a new program to attract more tourists. As part of this initiative, a "stopover" benefit has been implemented, which allows travelers to stop at an intermediate destination for free during a flight to their final destination.
This operation is already in place in countries like Portugal, France, and the United States, with airlines like TAP, Air France, and American Airlines. The Brazilian government hopes to adopt this policy to encourage more tourists to visit the country. It is working with airlines like Azul, Gol, and Latam to make it happen.
The Security Perception
According to experts, despite common belief, foreign tourists do not perceive urban violence negatively in Brazil. A recent study by Mabrian Technologies, a Spanish tourism data analysis platform, revealed that Brazil visitors feel safe.
The Security Perception Index, which ranges from 0 to 100, scored 96.7 in Brazil, indicating high visitor satisfaction. Satisfaction levels above 74 are considered excellent, while levels between 50 and 74 are considered high or very high.