Brazil welcomed a record number of foreign tourists

The total number of visitors from overseas reached 6.6 million in 2016, up 4.8% over 2015. Argentinians and North Americans were at the top of the list.

The record-setting number of foreign tourists brought to the Brazilian economy the amount of USD 6.2 billion. It is equivalent to over BRL 21 billion and 6.2% above the sum registered in 2015. The entry of overseas funds wasn’t record-setting like the number of visitors due to exchange rate variations that impact tourism directly.

The data was made available this Wednesday (4) by the Ministry of Tourism, including information by the Brazilian Central Bank and Federal Police. “The data is extremely positive. If compared against the international context, it shows that we still have a lot of room for improvement, but confirm that we were able to take advantage of the mega events held by the country,” said the minister of Tourism, Marx Beltrão.

The majority of the visitors that arrived in Brazil from January to December were Latin and North Americans, followed by Europeans. Argentinians traditionally held the top spot among visitors and surpassed the mark of 2.1 million tourists. The United States came in second with 600,000 tourists. They were followed, in the list, by Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay, France, Germany, Italy, England, Portugal and Spain.

Leisure was mentioned as the main purpose of the trip for half of the tourists. This same amount stayed in hotels, flats or inns and travelled with their families or relatives, and 40% searched for information via internet. The data will be included of the International Tourist Demand, a report done every year by the Ministry of Tourism and that should be concluded and published at mid-year.

Expectations – For 2017, the expectation is that the flow of foreigners in the country will increase in 6%, following the growth trend seen in other countries that hosted the Summer Olympics in the year following the event. England, for instance, the last host country for the Olympics before Brazil, had an average growth of 5% one year after the mega event. The last growth registered by Brazil before the Games were of 0.92%.

A surge in the inflow of tourists in Brazil is also expected due to the positive feedback registered by the Ministry of Tourism during the Games. The survey shows that over 87% of foreign tourists intend to return and that 94.2% of Brazilian tourists wish to visit Rio de Janeiro a second time.

To ensure that the inflow keeps trending up, the government is preparing a series of measures to be launched in the first half of the year still. “The challenge faced by the Ministry of Tourism is to turn the positive image into job creation, the plans to return by the foreign tourist into reality, plus drive Brazilian to get to know better the domestic destinations. For this, we are investing to improve infrastructure, the training of the workforce and to promote our destinations,” said the ministry.

*Translated by Sérgio Kakitani