Brazil’s tourism spending importance ranks amongst the top in the world

Unsurprisingly, Brazil’s tourism ranks high in the world when measured by importance of its contributions to the Brazilian economy. World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) figures show that the direct contribution of Travel & Tourism in Brazil was 3.5% of its GDP in 2014, with projections to grow 1.5% in 2015 and 3.5% per annum from 2015 to 2025.

Brazil achieved 10th position in the world on this measure, out of 184 countries ranked by WTTC in 2014. Total contribution by Travel & Tourism (including direct and indirect contribution) was 9.6% of GDP in 2014, ranking as 9th country in the world in 2014.

According to WCCT, most travel spending in Brazil is generated by leisure travel spending (including both domestic and inbound), rather than business travel. In fact, the former accounted for 85.8% of direct Travel & Tourism GDP in 2014, whilst the latter accounted for 14.2%. Both leisure and business travel spending are projected to grow at a healthy pace from 2016 to 2025, with leisure travel growing by 3.6% per annum and business travel by 2.8% per annum during this period.

Spending by international tourists is also significant, amounting to 2.7% of GDP in 2014, including both leisure and business trips. According to WTTC, this is expected to grow at a fast pace, by 5.3% in 2015 and thereafter 7.5% per annum until 2025, indicating a strong growth expectation of international tourism in Brazil.

With regards to employment, Brazil ranked as 6th and 5th largest in the world when measured by Direct and Total Contribution to Employment respectively. In 2014, Travel & Tourism directly supported 3.1 million jobs in Brazil (3.1% of total employment). This is expected to rise by 2.5% in 2015 and thereafter 1.4% per annum, reaching to 3.7 million jobs (3.4% of total employment) in 2025. The total contribution of Travel and Tourism to employment in Brazil (direct and indirect) amounts to 8.8% of total employment (8.8 million jobs).

Looking at tourism growth as a whole, preliminary estimates suggest that 2015 will be another exceptional year for Brazil. Last year, Brazil experienced record-breaking tourism numbers, including over 1 million visitors from 203 countries during the 2014 FIFA World Cup, significantly exceeding the early estimates of 600,000 foreign football fans.

The World Cup in 2014 is estimated to have had a net impact of ca. USD$3 billion on the Brazilian economy, according to Brazilian Tourism President Vicente Neto, adding a total of USD$13.5 billion to Brazil’s GDP in 2014 according to the press interview with the Tourism President, at the end of July 2014.

According to the Brazilian Tourism President, a satisfaction survey carried out among foreign tourists arriving in Brazil during the World Cup, indicated that 95% showed their willingness to return to the country. Foreign tourists stayed on average 13 days and were in 378 Brazilian municipalities, including the 12 host cities.

The study also revealed that 61% of foreign tourists visited Brazil for the first time and the geographical distribution of the matches across the country, with 12 host cities of which Natal was the ‘opening’ city, was highly important for promotion of destinations that were not previously well-known internationally. Natal has been one of the cities that benefited immensely from the World Cup promotion and infrastructure invested in the city, in connection to the tournament.

Elsewhere, Carnival 2015 celebrations, which take place during mid-February across the majority of Brazilian cities (the most sought after cities by tourists being Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Salvador, and Recife), has started off the year with strong increases in hotel and tourist numbers. Carnival is known as the world’s biggest festival, full of culture, dance, food, samba, parades and music.

Also, the Easter holiday celebration in Brazil (Semana Santa) is estimated to have generated 2.15 million domestic trips and a total spending of R$3.68 billion this year, according to The Ministry of Tourism report in April 2015. Apart from Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paolo that will account for the largest amount spending in the country during the Easter holiday, North-eastern states in Brazil also have significant tourism activity: together they will be responsible for handling about R$1 billion. Adding to carnivals and festivals, in March 2015, Rio de Janeiro held Rio’s 450th Anniversary celebrations, which was a whole months worth of events to mark 450 years of the city existence.

Last but not least, Brazil is igniting excitement of celebration of the Rio 2016 Olympics. According to Brazil’s Tourism Agency, Embratur, one week after the tickets for the Summer Olympics in Rio 2016 went on sale in April 2015 for the first draw, Brazilian fans have already applied for 1.2 million tickets.  Embratur officials say 7.5 million tickets will go on sale for the Rio Olympic Games, with more than half priced at just $22 or less.  If ticket sales are any indication, then 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio are already shaping up to be a highly successful sporting event.

For more information on the role and impact of tourism on Brazil, contact the experts at Ritz-G5 on +44 207 183 7565 or visit

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