On the back of the FIFA World Cup celebrated in Brazil last year, spending by foreigners in the country reached record levels. Brazil continues to attract increasing numbers of tourists and this year’s carnival season is expected to set new records.
According to figures published by the Brazilian Ministry of Tourism, foreign tourists in Brazil spent almost US$7 billion last year, some US$203 million more than 2013. The record figure for 2014 beats the previous year’s record and confirms the upward trend in tourism in Brazil.
High spending was attributed in part to the World Cup held throughout Brazil in June and July last year – spending by foreigners during these two months totalled US$1.5 billion, 60 per cent more than the same period in 2013. Another reason behind the rise is the increased interest in South America generally. According to the World Tourism Organisation, visitor figures to the continent increased by 6 per cent in 2014.
2015 has started well for Brazilian tourism and the country is now looking forward to millions of visitors for the world famous carnival celebrations, just a few days away. Between 13th and 18th February, Brazil expects to welcome 6.8 million tourists whose spending is calculated to add RS$6.6 billion to the national economy, some 3 per cent of total annual tourist expenditure.
The best-known destination, Rio de Janeiro, is preparing to receive nearly 1 million tourists drawn to the city’s colourful carnival parades and festivities. Recife, Brazil’s other key carnival destination, is expecting around 900,000 visitors to its more traditional take on the celebrations.
As well as a time for exuberant parades, carnival in Brazil is also a holiday period when many Brazilians prefer to spend the five days relaxing at beach destinations. A national favourite is the state of Ceará, in northeast Brazil. Tourism officials expect around 143,000 visitors to choose the state as their carnival holiday spot, 100,000 of these from outside Ceará. Popular locations are the bustling capital Fortaleza as well as the numerous unspoilt beach resorts along the Ceará coast. Hotel occupancy in Fortaleza for carnival currently stands at 87.3 per cent and officials estimate that total carnival spending in the state will reach R$140 million.
Source: Brazilian Ministry of Tourism