News

Here comes the Olympic tourist

30 de junho de 2016

São Paulo – They will watch volleyball, soccer, basketball, judo, swimming and fencing matches, but they are also going to Corcovado to see Rio de Janeiro from above, to Foz do Iguaçu for a close look at the waterfalls, to the Northeast to get a suntan on the beach. The 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games next August and September in Rio de Janeiro will draw scores of foreigners to Brazil. In addition to watching the games, they will travel the country.

The Brazilian Ministry of Tourism is confident that they will behave just as they did during the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil and the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. A poll shows that 86% of the people who travelled to Brazil and South Africa engaged in tourism activities besides watching the games. “These tourists are known to be cultured and above-average spenders when it comes to tourism,” said the Ministry’s director of Economic Studies and Research José Francisco Salles Lopes.

According to Lopes, most of the people coming for the Olympics will be from the United States, Japan, France, Australia, Europe and Canada. In South America, most will be from Argentina. Arab visitors are expected, but not in significant numbers. The countries with an Olympic tradition are the ones from where the most people come for the Olympic Games, Lopes explains.

The director believes the Games will lead to an increase in average foreign traveller spending in Brazil and in average stays, as well as double the amount of tourism revenue. Central Bank numbers show that in May, foreign tourists spent USD 434 million in the country. The latest Tourism Ministry survey shows that the average per capita spending by tourists in trips to Brazil is USD 1,290 and the average stay is 17.7 days. But the numbers are from 2014, when the country hosted the FIFA World Cup.

Lopes believes that the tourists from the Olympics will spend their money to get to know Brazil rather than paying to stay at nice places. Destinations that offer sun and beach, cultural and environmental attractions will be the most sought after, according to the director. He believes that São Paulo will be a very popular tourist destination since the majority of the international flights arrive in Brazil at the Guarulhos airport. Among the tourists from the Olympics should also be the relatives of the athletes themselves, who will arrive in groups of eight, nine, ten people.

Travel agencies selling packages to Brazil are experiencing high demand due to the Olympics and Paralympics. EGP Viagens, located in São Paulo, are being contacted by foreign clients who are planning to visit Brazil during the Olympics and want to extend their stay for leisure. According to EGP Viagens’ owner, Egyptian Mohammed Darwich, the requests come mainly from the United States, China, Japan and Turkey. There is also demand from the Arabs at EGP from Saudi Arabia, UAE and Morocco, albeit weak.

Darwich says that the tourists visiting Brazil in August are interested in destinations such as Foz do Iguaçu, Northeast cities such as Natal, Rio Grande do Norte and Fortaleza, Ceará, in addition to Fernando de Noronha and Pernambuco. “These people want to get to know the country to the fullest, they want to feel the places, meet the people, the culture, they want places with cafés and bars”, said the business owner. He described them as being young, up to 40 years old, and sharing Lopes’ opinion, are not looking for resorts.

Estimates by the government say that Brazil will receive around 300,000 to 500,000 foreigners during the Rio 2016 Olympics and Paralympics. Information released by Embratur, Brazilian Tourist Board linked to Ministry of Tourism, says that the institute is betting on the current dollar appreciation and greater purchasing power of foreigners in Brazil to attract this group and increase the tourism sector’s profitability during the competitions. Embratur organized several advertising actions to promote the Olympic Games abroad and invite the foreigners to visit Brazil during the event.

*Translated by Gabriel Pomerancblum and Sérgio Kakitani