Brazil may be the largest country by territorial extension in South America, home to a plethora of natural landmarks that need to be seen to be believed, and a vibrant multicultural scene. Despite its huge size and potential, it is not the most sought-after destination in the continent, being easily overshadowed by Argentina, Colombia, and Chile in terms of arrival numbers – but this could soon change.
Travel demand for Brazil is skyrocketing in the post-pandemic scene, and American sunseekers are partly to blame for the unexpected surge:
500% Increase In Tourism In 2022
According to the latest survey carried out by the Brazilian Ministry of Tourism, which tracks tourism trends across the country’s top destinations, Brazil hosted more than 3.63 international tourists in 2022, still lower than the pre-pandemic levels of around 5 million, but a 500% increase compared to 2021.
Compared to 2019, the South American giant remains 43% below expected levels, but this sharp rebound is laudable, nonetheless. Despite never shutting down its borders for inbound travelers for the best part of the pandemic, Brazil took a hard hit from COVID, scaring away potential customers as deaths soared and infections spiraled out of control.
At one point, it was the second most affected nation globally with the highest number of cases, only behind the United States. It held on to the runner-up slot for months on end, before switching posts with India and other continent-sized sovereign states, but the damage was done already:
Both the unfavorable pandemic curve, as well as limited seat availability and flight bans forced international tourism in Brazil into a standstill. Fortunately, the situation has improved significantly since, and as soon as the overly negative media coverage changed tone, demand shot through the roof.
As verified by the Brazilian Association of Tourism Operators (Braztoa in Portuguese), the tourism sector should grow approximately 53% in 2023, leading onlookers to wonder: why is Brazil one of the fastest-growing destinations in South America right now?
And more importantly, what can travelers expect vacationing in this promising sunny spot?
Brazil Is So Much More Than Just Rio And Its Beaches
For once, Brazil has a vast natural and cultural offer that’s been overlooked for far too long. Yes, Rio is an extremely popular city break, and Sao Paulo has retained its status as one of the leading financial hubs in South America, irrespective of the COVID slump, but tourists rarely ever venture deeper into Brazil – the wider country.
It is a Federation of 26 states, and a Federal District, and each region has distinct cultural traits, cuisine and climate. The views of a concrete jungle rising out of the Atlantic forest in Rio are nothing short of spectacular, and Sao Paulo has possibly the best nightlife in the continent, but Brazil is so much more than this powerhouse duo.
Finally, the unsung places are getting the recognition they deserve: off-grid travel is a stronger travel trend in 2023, and there’s no denying the global urge to explore entirely new, and not-so-obvious destinations has contributed to an increase in arrival numbers in Brazil. Recently, Azul Airlines added flights from Orlando, Florida, to the inland gem of Belo Horizonte, in the state of Minas Gerais.
Dubbed the culinary capital of Brazil, it is the cradle of the world-famous ‘pao de queijo’, a cheese bun normally consumed as a snack, and ‘feijao tropeiro’, a local dish with several variations that is commonly made with beans, dried beef and cassava flour. Belo Horizonte is also famous for its carnival, a large-scale street festivity that rivals that of Rio.
It is also the gateway to the Minas countryside, a culturally wealthy region featuring colonial-era settlements, including the cobblestone UNESCO World Heritage City of Ouro Preto, set against a lush green backdrop. Last year, Travel Off Path listed Ouro Preto as a seriously underrated Brazilian destination.
The Northeastern port of Salvador de Bahia, where the clash of Brazil’s European and African influences is most evident, is just as incredible, with a skyline bedecked with colorful heritage buildings that wouldn’t look out of place in Portugal or Spain, and beautiful beaches within driving distance of the city center.
Brazil Is Staying Ahead Of The Curve
Flights to both Rio and Sao Paulo, the traditional entry points, have been ramped up too, though the increased availability is only part of the reason why Brazil is suddenly this trendy. The Government has invested heavily in promotional campaigns and infrastructure, which in the present moment is lacking.
On top of that, the land of samba and caipirinha has stayed ahead of the curve by launching a Digital Nomad Visa allowing Americans to relocate to the territory for up to 2 years, subject to further renewals. Requirements are some of the easiest to fulfill, and when it comes to foreign investment and visa applications, U.S. citizens are usually shielded from the infamous Brazilian bureaucracy.
The current numbers may be lower than 2019’s, but we must take into account Brazil has not fully reopen for tourism. It went from one of the ‘most open’ destinations out there to one of the most restricted, requiring Americans to present a vaccination certificate so to be exempt from pre-departure testing. More information about entry requirements to Brazil can be found here.
↓ Join Our Community ↓
The Travel Off Path Community FB group has all the latest reopening news, conversations, and Q&A’s happening daily!
SUBSCRIBE TO OUR LATEST POSTS
Enter your email address to subscribe to Travel Off Path’s latest breaking travel news, straight to your inbox.
This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com