Home to Sugarloaf Mountain and Copacabana beach, Brazil’s exotic landmarks helped the country to pull in its highest ever overseas visitor numbers in a single month.
Almost 800,000 international tourists visited Brazil in October, contributing £340m to Brazil’s economy – another record for October, according to data released by the Central Bank of Brazil.
While it was a heady month for tourism in Brazil, the country remains a relatively undiscovered tourist destination.
Brazil welcomed 5.2 million foreign tourists in 2010, compared to 60 million overseas visitors in the US, figures from the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) show.
Brazil expects visitor numbers to rise sharply when it hosts the World Cup in 2014 and Summer Olympics in 2016, by which time it hopes to become a major international tourist destination.
The country is investing billions to improve airports, public transport and roads, with hotels also getting a facelift.
Brazil still suffers from an image problem as far as crime levels are concerned.
Recent global media coverage highlighted the recent military action in Rio, with marines and armed police making efforts to regain control of Rio’s shanty towns (favelas) from drug gangs.
But Brazilian authorities insist that progress has been made in tackling crime.
The country’s Tourist Board is keen to show that Brazil has much more to offer than its white sand beaches, festivals, football and Rio, with an advertising campaign to promote some of its other selling points.
Advertising will highlight the country’s vast beauty – from eco-holiday experiences in the Amazon to Iguassu Falls in Paraná, in South Brazil.
According to the latest data sourced by Brazil’s Ministry of Tourism and the Embassy of Brazil in London, Brazil’s most visited states by holidaymakers are Rio de Janeiro, Santa Catarina, Paraná and São Paulo repectively.
The findings were published in October after 39,000 foreign visitors were surveyed at Brazil’s airports and border crossings over ten months.
By the end of this year, Brazil expects to attract a further 200,000 foreign visitors compared to 2010.