UK tourist numbers to Brazil on the up despite the recession

The number of British tourists visiting Brazil in 2008 increased by more than 2.3% compared with the previous year, despite the recession, according to the Brazilian Tourist Board (EMBRATUR).

According to the board’s Annual Tourism Report, more than 181,000 Brits visited Brazil last year compared with 177,000 the year before. The country’s total worldwide visitors increased by almost 0.5% compared with the previous year.

The report also revealed that the majority of visitors preferred to go in January, February and March, during the Brazilian summer months and when some of the country’s most famous festivals take place, such as New Year’s Eve at Copacabana Beach, and carnival time. Both events attract millions of visitors every year.

There was also a slight growth in arrivals in June and August, suggesting Brits are becoming familiar with the less obvious highlights of Brazil’s tourism offer, the board said.

São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro were the most visited destinations and the number of visitors to the states of Pará in the Amazon and Paraná, home to Iguassu Falls, increased significantly.

A combination of EMBRATUR promotional campaigns, increased investment in infrastructure and tourist facilities, new flights to Brazil, including British Airways’ three-times-a-week Rio service, which launched in October 2008, and increased hotel capacity across the market, helped boost numbers.

EMBRATUR UK and Ireland director Chris Fuzinatto said: “We are extremely pleased to have achieved this positive growth during one of the most challenging years in the industry’s recent history. The country’s diversity means it has always had a strong potential appeal to UK travellers. But by working to support and educate the trade and reminding consumers about this diversity via advertising, we have succeeded in tapping into that potential and converting it to bookings.”

Brazil is hosting the 2014 football World Cup and it is also bidding to host the 2016 Olympics games.

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