Updated on July 25, 2022 by Axel Hernborg

Axel Hernborg

Brazil is a tropical paradise and an exciting cultural destination for tourists and travellers from all over the world. There are attractions for all tastes, from idyllic beach holidays and jungle explorations to world-class art museums and the pulsing rhythms of Rio’s Carnival with it’s five million visitors.

Brazil is the largest country in South America and the fifth-largest country in the world. Brazil is a country that everyone should visit once in a lifetime where one can dive into the worldly landscapes, incredible wildlife, unique culture and much more. In Brazil, visitors can expect a lot of diverse places such as Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo are the top priorities for most visitors.

Here we are going to explain some of the top trends and statistics in the Brazilian tourism industry.

Covid-19 and Tourism Industry

Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, tourism has been one of the sectors most affected by the crisis that has directly affected millions of lives and the global economy. According to Sebrae’s research on the impacts of vaccination on the resumption of activities of small businesses, the Brazilian tourism sector should only in 2022 return to pre-pandemic levels, even if 100% of the population has already been vaccinated by December this year.

Pre- and Post-Pandemic Statistics

  • According to data from the Ministry of Economy, in March and April 2020, considering only the “accommodation and food” segment 211,722 jobs were lost.
  • When examining the latest ticketing data for confirmed arrivals in Brazil in January – March 2022, the total international arrivals are -54% compared to 2019.
  • The top three most resilient markets are Portugal, Spain, and the USA. Portugal (+40%) and Spain (+4%) with a reported growth versus pre-pandemic times.
  • The role and importance of the US and Portuguese market for the travel and tourism sector in Brazil are even more relevant for Rio Grande do Norte, where confirmed tickets for arrivals in Q1 2022 are 71% above pre-pandemic levels.
  • Tickets confirmed for domestic arrivals in Brazil are currently down by just 3% while domestic arrivals to Rio Grande Do Norte are up by 41%.
  • According to another recent study by ForwardKeys for Q1 of 2022 examining the most resilient destinations in Latin America, Brazil is placed at number 5, down by 54% compared to 2019 levels. However, 2022 results still show growth for Brazil as it was down by 70% in Q1 of 2021.
  • Brazil’s tourism earned 152.4 billion reais (+12 % compared to the previous year) in 2021, as per official figures, this is still 24.2 % below 2019.
  • In early 2022, the tourism sector grew by 85.7% compared to the same period in 2021. The accumulated growth in 2022 was 51.3%.
  • The growth was measured by the IBGE – state statistics institution – and was driven by the increase in revenue from companies operating in the segments of air transport, restaurants, hotels, car rental, collective road transport of passengers, catering services and travel agencies.
  • In regional terms, all the federation units where the indicator is investigated showed progress in tourism services, with emphasis on the states of Ceará (135.8%), Minas Gerais (132.7%), Espírito Santo (123, 3%), Federal District (108.0%), Bahia (105.7%) and the Rio Grande do Sul (104.5%).
  • In its April 1, 2022 announcement, the Brazilian government reopened its waterways to international cruise ships.
  •  Effective April 1, 2022, most individuals travelling to Brazil who present proof of being fully vaccinated against COVID-19 are no longer required to present proof of a COVID-19 test or a Traveler’s Health Declaration (DSV).

Contribution of Tourism in the Brazilian Economy

  • Tourism in Brazil accounts directly for 3.1% of GDP, rising to 9.6% if indirect effects are also included.
  • The sector supported 2.1 million jobs in 2018, which accounts for 2.5% of total employment.
  • In 2018, international tourist arrivals reached 6.6 million, a marginal increase of 0.5% from the previous year, and spent BRL 21.2 billion.
  • Argentina was the largest source market with 2.5 million tourists (37.7% of the total), followed by the United States (8.1%), Chile (5.9%), Paraguay (5.4%) and Uruguay (5.3%).
  • The five primary source markets demonstrated varying levels of growth in 2018. Forecasts suggest consistent growth of over 2% per year during the period to 2023.
  • The majority of Brazilians choose domestic destinations for their holidays, including carnival and summer breaks.
  • In 2019, the contribution of travel and tourism to the gross domestic product (GDP) in Brazil was 7.7%.
  • In 2020, the contribution of travel and tourism to the gross domestic product (GDP) in Brazil was 5.5%
  • In 2021, the contribution of travel and tourism to the gross domestic product (GDP) in Brazil increased by nearly one percentage point after having dropped as a consequence of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in 2020.

Tourism Industry Insight

  • The state of São Paulo, Brazil remained the most internationally visited state in Brazil in 2020, though with only a little over 634 thousand tourist arrivals.
  • The Rio Grande do Sul ranked second in 2020, surpassing the state of Rio de Janeiro by more than 120 thousand arrivals.
  • In total, the number of inbound visitor arrivals in Brazil in 2020 amounted to roughly 2.15 million.
  • In 2020, São Paulo accounted for approximately 16% of the total number of restaurants, bars, and similar establishments officially registered at the Ministry of Tourism in Brazil.
  • The Southeast region, where the state is located, is also home to the greatest number of travel agencies in Brazil.
  • Due to its location, bordering the Atlantic Ocean on the East, tourism related to sun and beach activities was the main segment for São Paulo’s travel agencies as of mid-2020.
  • Ranking behind São Paulo in some tourism metrics, Rio de Janeiro outweighs expectations during Brazil’s worldwide famous event.
  • In 2020, the revenue generated by the precursor of the Carnival amid the festivity season surpassed São Paulo’s by roughly 742 million Brazilian reals.
  • At that time, there were 543 Carnival blocos-or street parade blocks- in the homonymous state’s capital, and its hotel occupancy rate marked roughly 80%.
  • The companies in the tourism sector that want to gain tourism revenue again, are adopting security protocols and adhering to new technologies to give customers more confidence.
  • Among the suggested innovations, the inclusion of digital check-in and check-out, digital identification, contactless payment, the internet of things, virtual reality, and artificial intelligence are some of the new trends.
  • To escape the Covid-19 crisis, entrepreneurs are finding the best strategies to differentiate their businesses.
  • The approach to the client; the diversification of the portfolio; training on good practices; the adoption of mechanisms that guarantee the client’s health security; the use of technologies that enable Low Touch, are the best strategies entrepreneurs are adapting to survive in the tourism sector.
  • The implementation of trends such as workation, ecotourism, and experiences in the tourism sector’s entrepreneurs’ business models and services will also be a new normal.
  • Luxury tourism has strong demand and indicates paths to companies that want to enter this niche.
  • Culinary tourism, providing exclusive wellness services, renting suites for micro-celebrations or entire venues, and offering personalized tours is the best example of luxury tourism.
  • Charm tourism is also a good opportunity to attract tourists.
  • The United States, one of the most strategic consumer markets for Brazilian tourism, is one of the crucial targets for the country’s international promotion.
  • 0.Embratur, the Brazilian agency for the promotion of international tourism, is launching three more advertising campaigns for priority markets this year.
  • In the United States, the first campaign started on May 24, with the theme “Visit Brazil — The WOW Experience.”
  • The campaign includes billboards in New York, Los Angeles, Dallas, Houston, and Washington, as well as ads for TV, social networks, banners on websites specializing in tourism, banners on portals, airlines and the press in general.
  • EMBRATUR has also started a series of projects to promote Brazil abroad, such as participation in fairs, congresses, and roadshows with operators, travel advisors, and associations.

Other Tourist-related Trends

  • According to Trip Advisor, Brazil is home to the world’s best beach.
  • The accommodation portal Booking’s survey revealed pent-up demand for holidays within the country and the desire to travel more.
  • Since the lifting of lockdown, Brazilians have shown a preference for getting out into nature.
  • Destinations offering open spaces in the fresh air have soared in popularity as holidaymakers look to get away from cities and crowds.
  • In 2019, 60% of Brazilians preferred to stay in hotels, in 2020, 49% are more interested in holiday lets. 
  • New trends in Brazilian tourism have therefore brought vacation rentals to the centre stage of the holiday market.
  • According to the accommodation portal Booking’s survey, 71% of Brazilians are including the destination’s contribution to the environment as one of their holiday search criteria.
  • Visitors can enjoy 4 time zones in Brazil because it is so big there is a big difference in when the sun sets across the country
  • Tourists now want to explore cities in the interior of the country, travel by car or by plane with a maximum duration of three hours, and are attentive to the protection measures adopted by the companies.