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Rio needs to work harder to attract international visitors

Brazil Rio de JaneiroTravel & Tourism contributed US$6.5bn to GDP in Rio de Janeiro in 2016, 4.9% of the city’s economy, and representing 11.5% of Brazil’s Travel & Tourism sector. However, less than 6% of tourism spend in the city comes from the international market, revealed a new report by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC).

        Latin America City Travel & Tourism Impact is one of a series of reports by WTTC which looks at the contribution of Travel & Tourism to city economies and job creation. The study covers 65 cities, six of which are in Latin America.

The data suggests that hosting the World Cup in 2014 and the Olympics in 2016 had limited direct impact on overall Travel & Tourism GDP and employment in the city. In 2014, there was a small increase in the volume of visits and overnight nights stays however this level has not been maintained; and in 2016, as often seen after mega-events, there was a significant displacement to other destinations, with other travel postponed or deferred. Improvements in international demand were also offset by lower domestic demand due to the recession.

Less than 4% of Brasília´s Travel & Tourism activity was generated by international demand, as Brazil´s capital city relies on domestic spending. Business travel is important for the city, including large volumes of government related-travel. Growth has slowed more recently during the recession, but this follows some particularly strong growth in prior years as economic activity was booming, helped by increases in government spend.

Brasília´s tourism GDP is only 3.2% of the city´s economy, accounting for US$2.1bn. The sector generates 52,600 jobs in the city, or 3.9% of its employment.

The total contribution of Travel & Tourism to Brazil´s GDP was BRL530.5bn (US$152.2bn), 8.5% of GDP in 2016. The total contribution of the sector to employment, including jobs indirectly supported by the industry was 7.8% of total employment (7 million jobs). Over the next ten years, there will be 9 million jobs in Brazil through tourism activity.

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