from the EcoInstitute of Brazil, Jan 2009

Brazil receives the highest number of foreign visitors in South America and is the second largest inbound market (after Mexico) in Latin America. Its best known tourism destinations are Rio de Janeiro, Foz de Iguaçu, São Paulo (business travel and incoming hub), Florianopolis (South American market), Salvador, Fortaleza & Natal (European charter market) and Manaus (nature tourism).

Brazil also has a large and vibrant domestic market and in most destinations Brazilian tourists far outnumber foreign visitors.

International Arrivals

In 2005 a record of 5,4 million international arrivals was registered for Brazil with 57% of tourists coming from North America and Europe (Embratur, 2006). Of the total arrivals 44% was leisure tourism. International tourism to Brazil has been growing at more than 10% a year for the past ten years, compared to 3,7% for average annual growth of global international arrivals. In 2006, international arrivals stagnated at 5,1 million due to a series of factors, including the collapse of VARIG.

The World Tourism Organization projects that international tourism to Brazil will continue growing (5,2%) above the world average (4,3%) resulting in 14,1 million arrivals by 2020..

Domestic Tourism

Foreign tourism, however, represents only a small part of the Brazilian tourism market. Studies done by FIPE/Embratur (1998, 2001 and 2005) indicate that, in number of tourists, the domestic market is much larger. In 2005, 38,5% of Brazilians who earn one minimum salary or more made at least one trip.

The latest study indicates that there is a core population of about 11 million tourists, who travel by plane and can be considered long haul domestic tourists

International Ecotourism

A few studies attempted to assess size and growth of the ecotourism market, but have stumbled upon definition problems that plague researchers worldwide.
The Brazil Sustainable Tourism Program (IH/PCTS) estimated the size of the international ecotourism market at 3-4% of the total market in 2002.
Preliminary results of the analysis of the profile of international demand for 2004/2005 by Embratur (2006), show that 39% of tourists cite Brazil's natural beauty as a motivation to visit the country. However, only 7% of leisure tourists (which translates into 3% of total tourists) say they visit the Brazilian Amazon, arguably the destination most associated with ecotourism for the international market.

Domestic Ecotourism Market

The domestic ecotourism market is much larger than the foreign one in number of tourists. The preliminary results of the Embratur Domestic market study for 2005/2006 show that, on average, 6% of the tourists cite "ecotourism" as a motivation for travel and for the A/B social class this is 10%. This would translate into a total market of 4 million domestic travellers interested in "ecotourism". The long more affluent market long-haul market would be about a quarter of this