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Recently, TravelAge West met with Mario Augusto Lopes Moyses the vice minister of tourism for Brazil to find out how the country is readying itself for two major world events —the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
How is Brazil’s economy faring in these tough economic times and how easy will it be to finance major infrastructure developments?The condition of the country is very good right now. We have problems that we have to face, but our political dynamic is very good. We also have a good economic scenario. This year, we are forecasting a growth in GDP, and we have created 2 million jobs — 14 million jobs over the past eight years.
We need to invest in tourism now because the rate of development is very strong. We need to make big investments for 2014 and for 2016. We plan to spend $12 billion on public projects such as transportation, airports and ports. We also plan to invest in convention centers and hotels — not just in new facilities but we want to renovate older ones. We also plan to spend $536 million on promotion and security.
In addition to the investment made by the government, there are other, private investors who plan on developing the tourism industry.
How has the domestic tourism market developed?Tourism offers a total of 7 million jobs in Brazil, and the domestic tourism market continues to develop.
We have increased domestic flights 15 percent in 2007, which was the first year of the economic crisis. This is boosting the tourism economy in Brazil.
Going forward, we are also training Brazilians to speak English in order to be able to attract more visitors. We have launched English-language programs that are intended to reach hundreds of thousands of people so teach them both English and Spanish by 2014 and 2016.
What is Brazil planning in the way of construction for these two events? Brazil is budgeting $25 billion to spend on a high-speed train for the Olympics. When complete, the train will take 1½ hours to get from Rio De Janeiro to Sao Paulo. This is being done with both private and public investments.
Brazil will invest approximately $950 million into the Port of Rio for the 2014 World Cup in addition to an investment by multimillionaire Eike Batista, who will, with is company EBX, also invest in the revitalization of the area.
Currently, there are at least three hotels that are not operating in Rio, and private companies plan to rebrand and renovate these properties. Together, they will offer more than 1,500 rooms in three years.
The Olympic Village will be constructed in the Riocentro area. There will be two new hotels there, as well as a new metro stop.
How will Brazil promote itself to the world in order to attract visitors for the World Cup and the Olympic Games? Brazil currently plans to spend $100 million to promote the country around the world for the World Cup and for the Olympic Games. Of that, $10 million will be spent in the U.S. However, this budget will grow as we come closer to 2014 and 2016.
In total, we hope to increase visitor arrivals in Brazil by 80 percent.
When promoting Brazil, what is the message that you would like to get across?We are hoping to show that Brazil is not just a destination for football and women and the beach. We are working hard to develop a new image of the country that shows our cultural diversity and the natural beauty of the country.
How will the World Cup help showcase the country’s diversity? There are 12 different cities hosting World Cup games throughout the country. This will help visitors discover the diversity of Brazil by visiting different areas around the country.