Tourism is an important pillar of Brazil’s economy, providing 2.2 million direct jobs, accounting for 2.6% of the country’s total employment in 2019.

International tourist arrivals reached 6.4 million in 2019, falling by 66.2% to 2.1 million in 2020. International receipts were USD 6.1 billion in 2019, before declining 49.4% in 2020. The top source market in 2020 remained Argentina, with 888 000 tourists (41.4% of international tourists), despite a decline of 54.6%. The other top markets for Brazil were the United States (8%), Chile (6.1%), Paraguay (5.7%) and Uruguay (5.3%).

Brazil recently began to measure domestic tourism. In 2020, Brazil recorded 9.6 million domestic overnight tourists, and an additional 3.7 million same-day visitors. This fell slightly in 2021, with domestic tourists falling 4.0% to 9.3 million and same-day visitors falling to 3.0 million.

The Ministry of Tourism has a wide role that includes the cross-governmental co-ordination of tourism, planning and research, marketing and promotional activity, regulation, training and education, as well as the development of new products and related infrastructure.

In 2020, Brazil incorporated the ‘culture’ portfolio into the Ministry of Tourism, and also strengthened actions related to tourism development, competitiveness, infrastructure, and attracting investment. The new structure of the Ministry of Tourism now allows greater co-ordination between the various decision-making bodies and authorities in states and municipalities. Co-ordination with stakeholders and businesses in the sector happens through shared associations and informal organisations.

The Ministry of Tourism deals directly with authorities at regional, state and municipal levels through its policies, as well as through collegial bodies established within the structure of the Ministry or created by federal entities. The Federal Constitution defines the responsibilities of all the various authorities. The Tourism International Board (EMBRATUR) is a non-profit private organisation supervised by the Federal Government.

The 2021 budget for the Ministry of Tourism is approximately BRL 2.7 billion, down from BRL 3.5 billion in 2020. The decrease is due to the decline in tax revenues and the wider effects of the COVID-19 crisis on various economic sectors, including the need to create support mechanisms for businesses and individuals affected by the pandemic.

The main challenge for the Brazilian government is resuming tourism activities that fell amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The Tourism Recovery Plan aims to establish a national alliance for the recovery of the sector (see box below). Several measures were adopted to provide safe travel. For example, the Responsible Tourism Stamp was granted to institutions which followed the sanitary protocols established by Brazil and the Brazilian Health Regulatory Agency (ANVISA).

During the most critical period of the pandemic, Brazil introduced emergency measures to protect companies and consumers. These actions resulted in three main laws aiming at the maintenance of jobs, the regulation of consumer laws to prevent mass bankruptcy, and a sector credit guarantee, which provided BRL 5 billion for companies to fund infrastructure works and working capital. In addition, over 100 free online training courses were offered to professionals in the sector, which benefited more than 3 000 workers in several segments. Courses included digital marketing, natural resources, and foreign language classes.

The Ministry’s actions and policies are based on the National Tourism Plan 2018-22 and the Strategic Plan 2020-23. In consultation with the public and private sectors and civil society, the plan is currently being revised to adapt to the current context and the revised structure of the Ministry.

A lesson of the COVID-19 crisis was the need for reliable data to support managers in decision-making. The Ministry’s Directorate of Strategic Management has made a wide range of tourism data available through the General Co-ordination of Data and Information, which was based on official data produced by the Ministry of Tourism, the Ministry of Labour, the Federal Police, and the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics, as well as information provided by tourism private sector associations. Historically, the Ministry of Tourism has produced data on the sector made available to the government and private associations to support the decision-making and policy-designing process.

From this data, new evidence-based priority areas were set. The first was promoting domestic tourism through infrastructure improvements and advertising campaigns promoting domestic destinations. Domestic tourism has been identified as the driving force for tourism recovery and represents a tool for promoting the country to international tourists.

The second priority was to invest in reinforcing biosecurity protocols to increase travellers’ sense of security. Brazil also aims to strengthen its understanding of domestic and international tourism demand and profiles through an agreement with the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics and international tourism surveys.

The Ministry of Tourism has strengthened partnerships with other Ministries to aid the implementation of projects, such as supporting inward investment for concessions for operators in national parks, in collaboration with the Ministry of the Environment. The Ministry has also sought to improve the relationship with the Ministry of Infrastructure to understand and improve tourist transport and mobility.

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