by Alexandre Sampaio, FBHA.
The numbers involved in tourism give an overview of their importance and, above all, reveal its potential to become Brazil’s main productive activity – one of those that is very capable of transforming our economy, including boosting other sectors such as the retail trade and industry, helping the country out of this crisis scenario and returning it to the path of growth and development.
The companies involved in the tourism activity play an important role in the context of wealth generation and income distribution, since they generate one in every 11 jobs and are responsible for around 3.5% of the Brazilian GDP, which represents something around R $ 182 billion.
The prospects are good and growing: it is estimated that by 2024 this amount will jump to around R $ 700 billion, which would guarantee it a 10% share of the GDP – a significant increase of 6.5 percentage points.
But, in order for this prognosis to be achieved, it is necessary to treat business tourism in an incisive way as a priority, extracting all the potential that Brazil as a tourist destination offers the foreign market.
In addition to being ostentatious and audacious, the country’s disclosure abroad should be strategically planned and structured, with focus and concrete results’ targets based on the increase in the number of foreign tourists visiting Brazil and a direct reflection in the amount spent by these visitors in our destinations.
From the practical management point of view, we need to prepare performance indicators that allow the constant monitoring of the actions and initiatives carried out in other countries and that provide information for a quick correction of the strategy path adopted, as a function of the results obtained.
But there is even greater work to be done, which is building and solidifying Brazil’s image as a tourist destination abroad. It is essential to mitigate any incorrect information circulating by word of mouth, and especially the feeling of insecurity that the news of violence instills in travellers’ minds. We need to define whether we are going to be the country of corruption and other types of robbery, or if we are going to be that immense country of exuberant nature, mountains, beautiful beaches and hospitable people. Based on the choice made, we must start working to turn Brazil into the aspirational destination of the main international tourists, like the Americans, French and Asians, people who like to travel and do not economize on their spending during these experiences. Why not encourage them to come here, by exempting them from the huge bureaucracy needed to obtain an entry visa for Brazil?
At this point, we leave management of the business to one side a little and start thinking about the strategic aspect for transforming our great economic vocation, tourism, into business.
The marketing calls to “sell” the country are all there, from stunningly beautiful beaches to hospitality and enriching experiences. All we now have to do is start doing our “homework”, which can begin with transforming Embratur into an international development agency, which, along the same lines as was done for the Brazilian Exports and Investments Promotion Agency (ApexBrasil), which was created to promote Brazilian products and services abroad and attract foreign investments, will kick off a new phase of Brazilian tourism promotion.
Alexandre Sampaio is president of the Brazilian Hospitality & Food Federation (FBHA).
The opinions expressed in this text are the author’s opinion and do not necessarily reflect the position of WTM Latin America.