Brazil jumped 23 positions and entered first place among Latin American countries in the World Economic Forum's Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index, published this May.
One of the factors that contributed to this result was the investment made in recent years to host large, mainly sporting, events. Analysing data from 140 countries across 14 sectors, the report shows that Brazil's natural resources, such as national parks, are one of its strongest cultural resources.
With its beautiful scenery and many parks, Brazil ranks first in terms of using its natural resources to boost tourism. As such, it's necessary to invest in the infrastructure of the national parks, as well as generate employment and income for the people living nearby. Between 2006 and 2013, the number of visitors to Brazilian National Parks rose from 1.9 million to 6 million, according to data from the Chico Mendes Institute for Conservation and Biodiversity (ICMBio). This change comes as a result of credit policies and public-private partnerships, including those with international companies with experience in the sector, which are due to be expanded.
However, this area could be even further developed. The USA serves as an example to Brazil, as, in 2012, 282 million people visited the 401 locations administered by the National Park Service, the body responsible for North American parks, generating US $30 billion in revenue and 252,000 jobs through visitor activities in the parks.
According to the ICMBio, there are 320 national conservation areas in Brazil that have the potential to sustainably develop their national resources, preserve their ecosystems and run environmental educational visits.
According to the study, the investments made for the World Cup between June and July 2014, and for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro played an important role in Brazil's advance, helping it move from 51st to 28th position in the ranking of the world's most competitive economies in the tourism sector. The report also highlights Brazilian cultural resources, an area in which Brazil occupies eighth place, an advance of 14 positions in relation to the previous ranking, published in 2013. In 2014, during the World Cup, foreigners visiting more than 450 different cities were able to see part of Brazil's cultural diversity.
Brazil has also increased its ranking in other areas: airport infrastructure (from 48th to 41st position), number of stadiums (63rd to 3rd), tourist infrastructure (60th to 51st), price competitiveness (126th to 81st) and education, with particular improvements to primary education, (60th to 18th). Among the negative points, the report indicated international openness (94th to 102nd position) and the business environment (falling from 119th to 126th). In order to fully integrate Brazil in the international tourism sector production chain, Embratur will increase its scope of activities, with the objective of attracting foreign investment and improving the business environment.
* Vinicius Lummertz took over the presidency of Embratur on 2nd June, having been Secretary of State for Tourism Policies at the Ministry of Tourism since September 2012. A graduate in Political Science from The American University of Paris, he has previously held the roles of Secretary of International Affairs for Santa Catarina and Secretary of Tourism for Florianópolis (Santa Catarina).