In this special content, LABS studied the behavior of the region who sent the most visitors to Brazil: Latin America.
Whether it is the growing business clout of Sao Paulo or the demand for Rio’s appealing beaches, Brazil’s destinations and leisure options are just the beginning when it comes to traveling. Tourism value chain englobes from restaurants to cultural attractions of a region.
Given the inherent potential, it is certain that there is still room for exploring the natural wonders of the country and make the industry go even higher over the next years. It will be challenging: in 2017, from the 1.3 billion global travelers, only 6.5 million visited Brazil (0.5 percent of the total amount).
There, the neighbor country, the United States, is the main source of tourists. In 2017, 59% of visitors were from the U.S. and had Cancun, Playa del Carmen and Cabo San Lucas as main destinations.
Brazil’s geographic location makes another group of tourists stand out: the Latin Americans, mostly those coming from Southern America. More than 4 million of the region’s travelers elected the country as a tourism destination in 2017, a number that is likely to grow. The fact that they don’t speak the same language is not a barrier.
Latin Americans represent a little bit more than 63 percent of the total arrivals in Brazil in 2017. Since 2010, Brazil had a 73 percent increase in the number of travelers coming from Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, Mexico, and Venezuela.
Even during the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro and the World Cup — when the country became a global destination —, Latin American visitors remained protagonists: in 2014, 50 percent of tourists in Brazil were from the region, and, in 2016, 57 percent.
Undoubtedly, borders have an influence on tourism dynamics. In Rio Grande do Sul, a Brazilian state that borders with Argentina and Uruguay, 95% of travelers came from these countries. The state of Mato Grosso do Sul, according to the Tourism Statistical Yearbook, from Brazil’s Ministry of Tourism, was visited in 2017 by 48,000 Bolivians and 24,000 Paraguayans (97% of the total foreign visitors in the state). This is a reality different from Sao Paulo’s, for instance, as the state is more accessible by air or sea. Among the five countries that sent the most tourists to Sao Paulo, only 27% were from Latin America.
“Nestas férias, coloque o seu portunhol em dia”
A slogan by the Brazilian Ministry of Tourism that tells the population to catch up with their “portunhol” (a Portuguese portmanteau of the words “Portuguese” and “Spanish”) during their summer vacation, as a way of motivating tourism towards the hermanos. If, on the one hand, the majority of the Latin American nations are united by the language (Spanish), on the other hand, these tourists differ greatly in regards to their habits and preferences when traveling across Brazil.
In November 2018, La Nación, one of Argentina’s main newspapers, published a series of four articles about tourism destinations in Brazil: a piece about Fernando de Noronha; a list of the aquatic parks in the country; a special on the Lajedo Pai Mateus, in Paraiba; and, of course, a guide with the best beaches in the South of the country.
According to a report from Embratur, it is precisely from September onwards that Argentinians begin to plan and purchase their summer trips, and during those months, Brazilian destinations are once again on the table.
Even though rivals in soccer, Argentina and Brazil maintain a good and meaningful relationship when it comes to the tourism economy in both countries. The proximity and search for a good time make Argentina the main issuer of tourists to Brazil.
Back then, price increases in Brazil were less significant than the inflation in Argentina, making the trip a more affordable option. That, allied to the second year of tight dollar restrictions in Argentina, made 2017 the year with more Argentinian tourists in the Brazilian history.
Proximity also helped: 934 thousand Argentinians went to Brazil by bus or car through the state of Rio Grande do Sul towards the southern beaches. The road is also the main way for Argentinians to get to the Brazilian side of the Iguaçu Falls, one of the 5 main destinations of the hermanos in the country.
Even though the average spending of the Argentinian tourist is relatively low in Brazil, something around USD56,87 per day, they are the ones that spend more nights in the country and who rent houses for vacation the most.
Throughout 2018, some travel habits changed. According to research from Kantar Millward Brown and Kantar TNS, given the economic situation, 68% of Argentinians changed their travel plans. Still, 80% from those claimed that they will adjust their travel budget to fit a year-end trip. Among these adjustments, the main ones are:
The record hit in 2017 may not repeat itself in 2018, as economic conditions are now completely different. The devaluation of the Argentine currency and the resumption of inflation may influence this holiday season. However, getting to the Brazilian beaches remains a more viable option for Argentinians than going to the Caribbean or Miami, for example.
One of the most stable and prosperous nations of South America, Chile stands out for having a fast-growing economy in the region. The increase in the number of Chilean tourists throughout the world is a result of economic improvement.
Even though way behind Argentina in the number of visitors, Chileans’ interest in Brazil has been increasing over the years. From 2010 to 2017, the number of Chilean tourists grew 70%. Considering only the last year, the variation was of approximately +10%. Brazil has become a favorite destination among Chileans and 56 percent from tourists who went to Brazil in 2017 had already visited the country on other occasions.
The easiest way of entering the country is thus by air, mainly through the airport of Sao Paulo, responsible for 52% of 2017 arrivals. According to a survey by Embratur (Brazilian Tourist Board), there are currently 119 direct weekly flights departing from Arturo M. Benitez Airport in Santiago, Chile, and arriving in Brazil (86 for São Paulo and 33 for Rio de Janeiro). In addition, on January 15, 2019, it will be launched 3 new flights making a direct route between Santiago of Chile and Porto Alegre.
From December to February 2017, the arrival of 110 thousand Chileans was recorded in the country (32% of the total amount).
Throughout the year, a relevant amount of people arrive in Brazil for business purposes. While in Rio de Janeiro the tourist boom is caused by the summer months, in Sao Paulo, the monthly average of Chileans visiting the city is of 14 thousand people, regardless the time of the year.
Among Latin Americans, they have the highest daily spending in the country, something around USD 75.71.
As the number of Chilean tourists grows throughout the world, the search for information about the best destinations also increases. According to Embratur, Chileans use to plan their trips far in advance. To do so, nowadays 60.7% of Chileans use the Internet to look for information about Brazil, a more significant percentage than in 2013, when 46% used the tool for that purpose. Those who seek information in travel agencies represent only 6.7% of the total amount of tourists that arrived in Brazil. From 2013 to 2017, this percentage was cut in half.
The country bordering Mato Grosso do Sul and Paraná has been prominent in the regional economic scenario. With an average increase of 5.8%, economic growth in Paraguay is among the strongest in Latin America, going in the opposite direction of more influential countries in the region. In the last few years, the economy grew an average of 4.5%, way faster than most neighboring nations.
Among the Latin American countries, besides representing a significant portion of the total number of foreign tourists visiting Brazil, Paraguay has for years been one of the five main sources of international tourists to its neighbor.
It is not surprising that 230,000 tourists from the country, equivalent to 71.3%, came via Parana by land.
Motivated by the coastal landscapes, tourists from Paraguay also prefer to visit Brazil during the summer season. With the tereré always in hand, Paraguayans fill the highways that connect the country to the Santa Catarina and Parana’s coast, which are the main destinations of these tourists, along with Foz do Iguaçu, of course.
Most of the time, tourists get to Brazil with their families (44,2%) during school breaks. Relatives are also a important source of information/opinion about Brazil, being as important as the internet when planning the trip.
Because of its political and economic stability, Uruguay used to be known as the “Switzerland of South America”. According to the World Bank, the country currently stands out in Latin America because of its egalitarian society and largest middle class in the region. These qualities become even more evident when it comes to the numbers of emissive tourism.
Even with 3.4 million inhabitants, in 2017 the country’s Ministry of Tourism pointed out the departure of 1.7 million Uruguayans towards other countries.
In that year, the number was higher than that of Chilean and Paraguayan tourists. The decrease in the ranking was not due to the decrease in Uruguayan demand, though. On the contrary, from 2012 to 2017, the country experienced a 29 percent increase in the number of tourists to Brazil. However, Chile and Paraguay registered, in the same period, an increase of 37 percent.
All packed and ready to go, like the other bordering countries, the main form of arriving in the Brazilian territory is by land. In 2017, road traffic accounted for 59% of the Uruguayan influxes in the country, of which 53% came from the state of Rio Grande do Sul alone.
In March, Uruguayans can profit the Tourism Week, a seven-day holiday that corresponds to Holy Week. During this period, they also enjoy visiting the southern beaches in Brazil.
Like the Argentinians, planning the trip to Brazil happens a few months before the summer or winter holidays. To do so, the Uruguayan tourist consults the Internet, as well as friends or relatives.
Little by little, the inhabitants from these four countries are increasing their visits to Brazil. Together, in 2017 they accounted for 7% of the total amount of arrivals.
Brazil still haven’t entered the list of the top 5 tourist destinations for Colombians. In 2017, the countries who figured on that list were Mexico, Equador, Panama, Peru and Venezuela.
Still, since 2010 there was a 64% increase in the number of Colombian tourists in Brazil. In the last few years, the first massive entry of tourists from Colombia was in 2014, the year of the World Cup. Reinforcing the South American presence in the country and sharing the love of football, in the following years, an average of 131,000 Colombian tourists was registered in the country
Brazil registered a 42% increase in the number of Bolivian tourists from 2010 to 2017. Expectations for the next few years are promising, however one of the challenges is connectivity: currently, arriving by air is limited, as the options of direct flights have only Sao Paulo or Cuiaba as destination.
According to Embratur, Peruvian tourists in Brazil generated a revenue of USD 63 million in the country.
São Paulo attracted mainly those tourists that went to Brazil for business purposes. The Brazilian state received almost half of all Peruvians visitors in 2017. Regarding leisure, the cities of Rio de Janeiro and Foz do Iguaçu were the year’s highlights.
In addition, in 2017, Mexicans made 22 million international trips, of which 18 million were to the US alone. In South America, Colombia and Argentina are the favorite destinations.
Brazil is not yet a highly competitive tourist destination for Mexicans. According to the Embratur’s Competitive Intelligence Bulletin, Mexicans believe a trip to Brazil is very expensive and that what is offered by the country does not correspond to the amount charged.
2014 was the year with the most Mexican tourists: 109,000 visited Brazil, the great majority motivated by the World Cup. After that year, the number of Mexicans decreased. In 2017, only 81,000 went to Brazil.
Tourism is able to spread the culture of a country, change stereotypes, promote growing cities and boost the economy.
Brazil, a country with a coastline of 7.5 km2 and the largest biodiversity in the world, has inherent potential. There is no doubt that by increasing the country’s various destinations for tourist demand, the economic indicators of the activity will be even more significant in the coming years. And to increase the destinations and the tourist offer implies to know the public well: where it comes, how they are informed, how they purchase the trip, among other relevant information.
Behaving in different ways and with different habits and preferences, the arrival of Latin American tourists to Brazil indicates a series of opportunities for those who operate - or can begin to operate - in this sector. One can invest in new seasonal attractions in those places that already receive many tourists, as is the case of the southern city of Florianópolis for the Argentinians. Or, given the economic situation in Argentina, to increase family package offers, personalized and more economical, offering different methods of payment.
The bleisure travel trend - an option that combines corporate travel with leisure - can be an opportunity to be explored with Chileans coming to Brazil on business, since they usually spend about a week at the destination and spend an average of USD 116 per day.
1.7 million Uruguayan travelers left the country in 2017. Of these, 328,000 came to Brazil. What could be done to attract more tourists from that region - since there is much potential to be explored? Since Uruguayans already know the beaches of the South of the country, what are the alternatives to promote other cultural experiences or other tourist segments?
The boundaries to be broken are not just physical: better articulating the on and off in the buying process and seizing the use of the internet - main source of destination information - to consolidate the sale of travel and experiences, also appears as a opportunity for growth.
More than breaking borders, tightening ties. The importance of Latin American countries for Brazilian tourism has proven to be unquestionable, and this indicates an increasingly clear path: the possibilities are closer than you might think