PUBLICADO EM: 30/07/2018

Article: Brazilians do not know Brazil, yet…

By Toni Sando, President of VISITE SÃO PAULO.

The number of tourists in the world has increased: 7% in 2017 when compared with the previous period.
That represents 1.3 billion visitors all over the world. This increase is particularly due to Europe and Africa, both with an increase of 8% – while for the Americas this increase was of 3%.

When we analyze the numbers we see an enormous potential for Brazil. In 2016, there were only 6.6 million international visitors. Compared with Hong Kong that received 26 million tourists, there seems to be a lot of work to do.

However, this is the great opportunity that we have in our hands regarding both international and domestic tourism.

The tourism, events and travel sector already has an important role in the national economy. The foreign exchange revenue brought by these 6.6 million tourists is in the region of US$ 6 billion. Exclusively with regards to national aviation, 6.4 million jobs are stimulated or rendered and R$25.4 billion in tax collection, according to ABEAR, the Brazilian Airlines Association. Although these numbers are already significant, a lot more could be done and created.

Business owners from the travel, tourism and events sector, by means of its representing entities, are working alongside the government in the creation and approval of measures to make the sector more competitive – to create more wealth and income. Among the points discussed are the cap on ICMS (value-added tax on products and services) for kerosene in aviation (one of the main reasons why domestic tourism is so expensive), modernization of the General Tourism Law, concessions for import of equipment for theme parks, electronic visas, co-responsibility of travel agents, regulation of digital sales platforms, among others.

We must be optimistic and it is time for the private initiative to take the driver’s seat. Executives from the sector must assure the financial health of their representatives and market entities in an active and participative manner, affiliating their companies and guaranteeing efforts for the approval of laws and measures and direct dialogue with the government; this is how UNEDESTINOS – National Union of the Conventions & Visitors Bureaus and Destination Entities – was born, with over 50 associates, promoting destinations, attracting new events and training people to constantly improve how they receive visitors.

We must create actions, partners and projects making the best of every opportunity of growth that the sector potentially has. Such activities can be varied and include the creation of new business and promotion and marketing initiatives.

Brazil is a great destination in various segments, from business to pleasure. It is ready to receive visitors from all over the world – and from Brazil itself. We must appreciate our country, our people and contemplate this marvelous place with its natural beauties, historical locations, art and culture, unparalleled hospitality, its original and global gastronomy.

Trade shows and events, regardless of the economic scenario, are segments that have the potential to develop and reinvent themselves and are a true photograph of the market that they represent. In addition to attracting visitors, they are also a driving force for new product launches and to improve relationships with clients.

We are going through a period of new economic growth and market optimism. Now is the time. Those who are prepared to be part of this moment of prosperity should become part in order to reap the rewards of the tourism, events and travel sector until we are following world growth together.