Population: 177,860,072 (estimated)
Area: 8,511,965 sq km
CIA World Factbook - Brazil How CIA sees Brazil.
Brazil Travel Information Information about all States in Brazil.
Brazil by Lonely Planet Lonely Planet is well known for their unbiased travel reports.
Meu Brasil (My Brazil) One of the most informational website about Brazil, maintained by Sergio Koreisha, a professor at University of Oregon.
IBGE Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatistica - Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics. A much respected Brazilian agency which collects and analyses data about Braziliann population and economy.

More info about Brazil:
Despite several problems, Brazil is a country which should be among among the options of the international tourists.
Brazil is a Democratic Republic, free from natural cataclisms, with a huge natural diversity (you can be on the beach this week, next week in the jungle). Besides, Brazil is a peaceful country (most people don't know who Osama bin Laden is) and, neither last nor least, Brazil is very cheap (dollar, euros, pounds are very strong against the Brazilian currency).

Brazil is a country that tourists return to
Embratur is the Brazilian Tourism Authority, whose job is to promote the tourism in the country, both for domestic and international travellers.
For a very good source of information about Brazil in English, visit the website about tourism maintained by the Brazilian Embassy in Washington
Embratur periodically conducts surveys to analyze the Brazilian tourism scenes, both domestic and international.
Let's take a look at the Study on International Tourism, year 2002; the report is on PDF format (big file: 451kB), so the tables and text can't be imported to this (HTML format) page, so I will make references to it.
The survey was conducted among foreigner tourists leaving the country, and followed guidelines set by the World Tourism Organization to guarantee that results were reliable to a 5% error margin. Questionaires were applied in Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, Recife, Salvador, Manaus, Fortaleza, Porto Alegre, Florianopolis and Foz do Iguacu, in two different occasions (high and low season).

Table at page 8 brings a summary of the study.
Some interesting points:

  • 51,21% of foreigner tourists came for holidays, while 28,28% for business and 15,60% for familiar visits.
  • The main source of information about Brazil was, in 51,83% of cases, recommendation of friends; in 12,80%, the internet, and in 11,71% folders provided by the travel agencies.
  • Age brackets: 18-27 y.o: 17,22% 28-45: 47,78% 45-65: 30,90% over 65: 4,10%
  • 69,40% of the visitants had superior education
  • 26,43% of travellers came alone, 43,07% with family, 27,64% with friends and 2,86% came in excursions
  • The average income was US$ 32,041,52 per year
  • 77,04% of visitants used travel agency services, while 22,86% didn't
  • 65,34% were coming for the first time, while 34,66% were coming the second or more times
  • Intention to return: 96,12% said they had the intention to return to Brazil, while 3,88% said they didn't intend to return to Brazil
  • Average stay 14 days, with average daily spent of US$ 86,17
  • Cities visited by the tourists: Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, Salvador, Foz, Recife, Porto Alegre, Fortaleza, Florianopolis, Natal(3,76%), Buzios
  • Major reasons of complaints: safety, cleaness, touristic signalization, communications, urban transportation, taxis, night life
  • Level of satisfaction with their experiences: 31,00% said that the trip was above their expectations; 55,09% said that their expectations were completely fulfilled; 11,81% said that they partially fulfilled their expectations; 2,10% said that they were disappointed.

    The Table 8, page14, lists the most visited cities
    As pointed by the report, there were not significant changes (Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, Salvador and Foz do Iguacu still leading), but one difference is that Natal didn't appear until 2001 (the tenth was Buzios with 3,9%) and is appearing at #9 in 2002.
    The fact that foreigners are going more to Natal goes in line with the results of other Embratur survey, this one on domestic market, showing that Natal is becoming more and more popular among Brazilian tourists.

    It would be interesting to compare the result of this study with others conducted in the past. This is the same survey, conducted in 1998: Study on International Tourism, year 1998.
    It's worthy mentioning that:
    The intention to return was already high: 88,0% said they had the intention to return to the country, 9,8% said maybe they would return, and 2,2% said not to have intention to return. The intention to return increased from 1998 to 2002.
    In 1998, Natal was not even amongst the 14 most visited cities (Brasilia was 14th, with 2,5% of visitants); this also confirms that in the recent years Natal has been deserving more and more attention from potential visitors. The Table 7, page 11, shows that something similar happened with Fortaleza (today one of the biggest tourist receptors in Brazil): Fortaleza share of visitors grew from 2,3% in 1994 to 4,6% in 1998.

    See also:
    Natal is a growing destination among Brazilian tourists

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