Hosting the World Cup in Brazil in 2014, with games in twelve host cities, helped create two new records for the country's international tourism sector:
Firstly, according to data from the Ministry of Tourism, 1,736,645 foreign visitors entered Brazil in the two months of June and July alone. Secondly, hosting the World Cup brought in US $1.578 billion in foreign currency during the tournament, according to data from the Central Bank. The number of tourists that visited in June and July represents 27% of all foreign visits to the country last year, which totalled 6,429,852 in 2014, a new record for Brazil. Across these two months there was an increase of 96% in the total number of foreign tourists in comparison with the same period in 2013. As in the previous year, the majority of tourists arrived in Brazil by air, arriving at the modernised airports of the host cities.
Although this is an impressive figure, there is much we can do to increase the number of international visitors in the coming years: improving the business environment, restructuring Embratur, increasing partnerships with the private sector and attracting new foreign investment - not only from a financial point of view, but also in terms of experience gained in other countries that can help to modernise tourism within Brazil. As a result of these and other campaigns, we will also enjoy a rise in the influx of foreign currency thanks to these international tourists.
In four years, between 2010 - when Embratur began incorporating the World Cup into its promotional campaigns for Brazil as a tourist destination - and 2014, the number of foreign tourists rose by 24.5%, in spite of the strengthening of the Real, Brazil's currency. In the same period, according to data from the World Tourism Organisation (WTO), the total number of people visiting other countries increased by 20.7%, while across North and South America the rise was 21.33%. Brazil's performance should be considered as a particularly positive result in light of the tough global economic environment.
Although in August Brazil will be just a year away from hosting the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, we still have plenty of time to show the world the marvels of our Brazilian cities, our stunning beaches and our wide variety of culture and gastronomy.
Last June, in anticipation of the opening game between Brazil and Croatia in São Paulo, some 1,018,876 foreign tourists entered Brazil, representing an increase of 191% in comparison with June 2013. In July, even though half of the 32 teams had already been eliminated, a further 717,759 foreigners entered Brazil. For Brazil-bound tourists from Europe, the total number of visitors increased by 57% in June and July in comparison with the previous year. During the Cup period, the total number of English people in Brazil more than doubled in comparison with 2013.
All in all, it was a very successful World Cup. In the twelve host cities, the majority of foreign tourists (who between them visited more than 490 cities) had the opportunity to explore more of our culture, our gastronomy and our cultural marvels. According to a survey by the Ministry of Tourism, 83.1% of foreign visitors said that the experience they had in Brazil during the event either met or exceeded their expectations.
Besides improving the perception of Brazil and increasing awareness of the diversity of the Brazilian people, the success of the large events we have held, culminating in the 2016 Olympic Games, will help to increase the influence that tourism has on Brazil's economic development.