The world is still trying to understand what the changes will be caused by the biggest pandemic in a century. In the field of tourism, the new normal has already brought good news to national agents. Brazilians have traveled extensively in the past year and destinations in Brazil have become popular with tourists. This happened not only out of fear for new variants, for the dollars and the challenging economy, which has reduced travel abroad (they accounted for just 4.2% of travel last year). The sector began to offer more sophistication in the country and some cities returned to invest in tourism infrastructure. As a result, displacements have the pre-Covid† In total, shipments were 14.2% higher last year than in 2019, before the coronavirus spread.
Canela, in Rio Grande do Sul, is an example of the industry’s efforts over the past two years. In early 2021, it was given a 35-meter glass walkway stretching across the Ferradura Valley. The place is one of the most emblematic of Serra Gaúcha. The Northeast is also one of the favorite destinations of the tourist renaissance today. “We couldn’t stay at home any longer,” said Cássia Clesca, a 55-year-old engineer who lives in a comfortable house with a pool in Alphaville. “I wanted sun and beach, but I also wanted to create a cultural route.” She, her son Henrique, 17, and husband Paul, 58, decided to spend ten days in the region. The first days were in Praia do Forte. “I really wanted to visit Garcia D’Ávila’s tower house, which is a very interesting historical point,” she says, who had already read about the site in the Brazilian history books by writer Laurentino Gomes. In addition to the daytime visit, the family enjoyed a nightclub, which is currently organized in the evenings at the same address. “There were several typical food stalls and special lighting. We didn’t stay long, but we loved it.” Besides the attraction, she saw other advantages in staying in Brazil. “There was no queue for a tourist spot and we were all vaccinated, which made it safer.”
7.4 million of shipments (2021), 3.3 million (2020) e 6.5 million (2019)
The most visited destination in Brazil is just the northeast, mainly Praia do Forte and Salvador. After being locked up at home for more than a year watching the increase in the number of Covid victims on TV, the Brazilian needed to relax. “We are combining this need to travel with planning more advanced trips,” said Roberto Neldelciu, president of Baztoa Turismo (Brazilian Association of Tour Operators). “I organized a group for the Pantanal, which is now fashionable because of the Globo soap, and I hired Marina Klink, the navigator’s wife, as a guide. Vacancies are sold out,” he says, who also runs a tourism office. “I’m not sure if it was because of the pandemic, but the groups wanted unique moments, like meditating to the sound of violins falling from the sky, in Jalapão,” he says. Josiane Keylla dos Santos, 42, from Paraná, was in one of these groups. “My travel guide was a family constellation teacher (alternative therapy method that tries to identify causes of personal problems and conflicts through group dynamics).” Josiane says she didn’t even want to go to Jalapão, a state park in Tocantins. He traveled because of the experience offered and because he felt the need to leave the house and the routine. She did not expect that the identification with the site would be so strong that she would become emotional several times when visiting the waterfalls in the region. Josiane returned home, where she lived in Curitiba, sold everything she had and moved to Jalapão.
14.2% was the increase in shipments in 2021
O tourism is one of the sectors of the economy most affected by the pandemic. In 2020, the worst phase of the disease, only 3.3 million Brazilians faced the challenge of travelling, inside or outside the country. In the first year of the pandemic, many agencies closed their doors. At that time, 397,000 jobs were eliminated, which is equivalent to 12.8% of the workforce, according to the Department of Labor. In early 2021, tourism was running at 42% of revenue-generating capacity, but as the months passed, things took a turn for the worse. As vaccination increased, Brazilians felt more confident getting out and about, and shipments rose to 7.4 million.
“We just couldn’t exceed 2019 sales,” says Neldelciu, “A lot of customers had letters of credit for trips that weren’t made in the previous year.” Another issue affecting the numbers is the average ticket for domestic travel, which is lower than for international travel. Operators achieved sales of BRL 7.1 billion, a recovery of 77.3% compared to 2020 and 44% lower than in 2019, when the market reached BRL 15.1 billion. Physiotherapist Talita Bortolussi used to go abroad at least once a year. “I haven’t left Brazil for three years,” he says. She’s not alone. Brazilians’ spending outside the country totaled $5.249 billion, the lowest in the past 16 years. The redemption of the sector lies in national tourism.