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Travel and tourism in Brazil – statistics & facts

Brazil, the largest country in Latin America and the fifth-largest worldwide, is a major player in key economic sectors of the region, particularly, travel and tourism. In the second half of the past decade, the South American country registered more than six million inbound tourist arrivals per year, placing it among the top tourist hubs for international travelers in Latin America. Annually, this tourism volume represented more than six billion U.S. dollars of international visitor expenditures.

Brazilian tourists are also a major driver of the Latin American travel industry. For instance, they were the biggest spenders on international tourism in Latin America in the late 2010s, surpassing Mexico and Argentina. And, as residents of the country hosting the most famous Carnival in the world, local consumers account for over 90 percent of tourism spending in Brazil. The development of national tourism in Brazil is also attested by ever-increasing domestic air passengers during the past two decades up until the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Brazil's natural attractions

As one of the most biodiverse countries worldwide, Brazil offers a variety of destinations for ecotourists, adventure travelers, and overall nature lovers. For instance, the Portuguese-speaking country holds the record of having the largest number of national parks in Latin America. The Fernando de Noronha archipelago, the Iguaçu Falls – shared with Argentina –, the Descobrimento National Park, and the Amazon Rainforest, 60 percent of which is located within Brazilian territory, are among its most popular nature attractions. Consequently, natural resources were Brazil’s best-rated pillar in the last published Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index.

COVID-19 impact on the Brazilian tourism sector

The Brazilian travel and tourism sector was strongly hit by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. According to 2020 figures, Brazil lost around 1.4 million tourism jobs by the end of the year, turning the country into the most affected tourism employment markets in Latin America, and among the ten most affected worldwide. The economic havoc caused by the pandemic also translated into a one third drop in tourism contribution to Brazil’s GDP in 2020.

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