By Daniel Hunter

Brazil is Latin America’s fastest growing Travel & Tourism economy, with Travel & Tourism’s direct contribution to GDP; it is forecast to grow at 7.8% in 2012.

Research released by David Scowsill, President & CEO, World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) at Fórum Panrotas, forecasts that the Brazilian Travel & Tourism economy which contributed US$79 billion to GDP in 2011 is due to increase by 7.8% this year. This is significantly ahead of other countries in the region such as Chile and Colombia (both with growth of 4.7%) and Argentina and Peru at 3.7% and 3.6% respectively.

When the wider indirect and induced impacts are taken into account, the industry’s contribution is nearly three times greater — approximately US$213 billion. This is equivalent to 8.6% of Brazil’s total GDP.

If the growth in Brazil is achieved, it will bring an extra US$5.5 billion for the Brazilian GDP directly from Travel & Tourism and 200,000 new direct jobs in 2012.

Around 7.7 million jobs in Brazil are supported by Travel & Tourism and its wider impacts. That is nearly 8% of all employment in the country. And while international tourism is doing well — visitor exports reached US$7billion in 2011 — domestic business is really driving growth. Domestic tourism spend grew by 6.5% in 2011 to US$130 billion.

“Brazil’s Travel & Tourism industry is set for a great few years and I’m certain that Brazil agreeing to a number of open skies agreements have contributed to the positive growth figures," David Scowsill, President & CEO of WTTC, said.

"However, Brazil has a few hurdles to overcome with two major sport events coming up. In order for these events to be successful, present inadequate infrastructure must be improved.

"Airports currently operate at overcapacity; an unsafe port infrastructure and the lack of hotel rooms in major cities represent the main concerns for Brazil’s Travel & Tourism industry in the long run-up to the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games. Although, the government has already started some construction work, they will need to make sure they adhere to deadlines and timetables.”

WTTC’s research also shows that prospects for the Latin American region in 2012 are very respectable. Latin America will be one of the fastest growing regions in 2012 in terms of Travel & Tourism’s contribution to GDP — at 6.5%, behind only South Asia and Northeast Asia at 6.7%.

Driving this growth is a 5.2% increase in capital investment in Travel & Tourism — the highest growth outside Asia — and 6.1% growth in visitor exports.

However, the region will have to work hard to maintain this level of growth in the long term as current forecasts show that the regions 10-year prospects are well behind other regions with Travel & Tourism’s contribution to GDP forecast to grow by 4.5%.

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