Tourism in Brazil fastest growing in Latin America: WTTC

Tourism in Brazil, which contributed US$79 billion to the country’s GDP in 2011, is expected to grow 7.8% year-on-year in 2012 according to the latest figures from the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC).

This is significantly ahead of other countries in the region such as Chile and Colombia, both with growth of 4.7%, and Argentina and Peru at 3.7% and 3.6%, respectively.

“Brazil’s tourism industry is set for a great few years and I’m certain that Brazil agreeing to a number of open skies agreements have contributed to the positive growth figures,” said David Scowsill, president and CEO of the WTTC. “However, Brazil has a few hurdles to overcome with two major sport events coming up. In order for these events to be successful, present inadequate infrastructure must be improved. Airports currently operate at overcapacity; an unsafe port infrastructure and the lack of hotel rooms in major cities represent the main concerns for Brazil’s travel & tourism industry in the long run-up to the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games. Although, the government has already started some construction work, they will need to make sure they adhere to deadlines and timetables.”

According to the WTTC, 7.7 million jobs in Brazil are supported by the tourism industry and its wider impacts, nearly 8% of all employment in the country. And while international tourism is doing well — visitor exports reached US$7billion in 2011 — domestic business is really driving growth.  Domestic tourism spend grew by 6.5% in 2011 to US$130 billion. 

WTTC’s research also shows that prospects for the Latin American region in 2012 are very respectable. Latin America will be one of the fastest growing regions in 2012 in terms of the travel industry’s contribution to GDP. Driving this growth is a 5.2% increase in capital investment in tourism across Latin America, the highest growth outside Asia, and 6.1% growth in visitor exports.

However, the region will have to work hard to maintain this level of growth in the long term as current forecasts show that the regions 10-year prospects are well behind other regions with the tourism industry’s contribution to GDP forecast to grow by 4.5%.