Brazil a Hot Market for U.S. Tourism Growth

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As overseas travel to the U.S. begins to rebound, American companies are paying closer attention to one market that is expected to more than double in the next six years – Brazil.

By 2014, Brazil is likely to move past both France and Germany in the number of people visiting the U.S., and American businesses with an eye on the future are making a smart investment in this market now.

As overseas travel to the U.S. begins to rebound, American companies are paying closer attention to one market that is expected to more than double in the next six years – Brazil.

According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, the number of Brazilians visiting the U.S. is expected to exceed 2.2 million in 2015, a 152 percent increase over the 893,000 that traveled here in 2009. Annual double-digit increases in visitation from that country in that timeframe will out-pace the growth anticipated from all other overseas markets, including China (1.3 million visitors forecasted in 2015, a 151 percent increase over 2009). That forecast combined with continued improvements in Brazil’s economy has a number of tourism interests taking a closer look at that market.

Tourism organizations like VISIT FLORIDA, the Miami CVB and the Orlando/Orange Co. CVB as well as Disney and Universal have sustained a long term marketing push even during Brazil’s leaner days. But that list of suitors recently has expanded to include SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment, Las Vegas, NYC & Company, Capital Region USA (which includes the destination marketing organizations of Maryland, Virginia and Washington DC) and Meeting Planners International (MPI), among others.

“China is emerging, but Brazil is hot right now,” says Ana Donato, the CEO of Imaginadora, a Sao Paulo-based strategic marketing and event firm that specializes in the Brazilian travel market. “By 2014, Brazil is likely to move past both France and Germany in the number of people visiting the U.S., and American businesses with an eye on the future are making a smart investment in this market now.”

Donato says the same economic factors that led to Brazil’s successful bids for the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympic Games -- a growing GDP expected to rise from 4.1 percent in 2010 to 5.5 percent in 2011 according to the International Monetary Fund, and the stabilized Real – are also great indicators for continued growth in visitation to the U.S. She also points to the improved process involved in processing U.S. visas as another critical reason for the robust travel forecast.

Brazilians have long been known for their fascination with the beaches, theme parks and shopping opportunities found throughout Florida, but Donato says Brazilians are now showing an interest in experiencing other parts of the U.S.

“Favorites top US destinations for Brazilians are Florida, California and New York. But we observe that there are a significant repeaters and FIT segments looking for new experiences rather just shopping or amusement parks,” Donato says. “These are opportunities for new destinations to invest in Brazil. Tour operators are looking for new products to offer to repeaters who have a high affinity for and familiarity with U.S. attractions.”

Travel from overseas markets as a whole is expected to grow 42 percent in the next six years. Other top source countries through 2015 will continue to include the United Kingdom (4.7 million visitors, 21 percent growth), Japan (3.9 million, 34 percent), Germany (1.96 million, 16 percent), France (1.4 million, 17 percent), Brazil (2.2 million, 152%), Italy (1.12 million, 49 percent), S. Korea (1.46 million, 97 percent), and Australia (1.25 million, 72 percent).

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