Brazil’s chance to reassure its regional leader position


THE government of Brazil, Embratur, the Brazilian Ministry of Tourism, and the state of Santa Catarina have joined forces with WTTC to bring industry leaders together to discuss ways to overcome the economic downturn. JEANINE PIRES, president of Embratur, spoke to CHERYL MANDY about how the country was gearing up for the event.

How optimistic are you regarding the forthcoming WTTC Summit in Brazil?
This event will certainly bring many opportunities to the travel and tourism sector for debating straightforward partnerships and the contribution of tourism to the recovery of the world economy.

Has the area which was badly affected by the floods and mudslides returned to normal yet?
Yes. All Santa Catarina’s inland areas affected by floods last year are back to normal already. These places have resumed their daily activities and their local economies are back at full steam.

What are the main advantages to Brazil for holding the summit here?
Brazil will have the chance to reassure its place as a regional leader in South America’s tourism. Besides that, the summit will bring to our continent key players of the world industry and give them the chance to get to know better Brazil and Santa Catarina. As well as giving us the chance to highlight tourism as an important activity, plenty of opportunities.

Is the local population looking forward to the summit?
Yes, everyone is very excited with it. Many different initiatives are coming up, ranging from cultural programming to satellite events. We can already notice the surprisingly involvement of the population, very willing to welcome these guests.

Has the summit made an impact on hotel bookings?
Bookings are still getting shape. However, we can assure that the entire hotel network will be pretty busy during the event.

Are there any special events in Santa Catarina that you can highlight being prepared for this event?
Some segments of Brazilian tourism will take this advantage to have meetings and informal gatherings before or after the event. The city will also offer diverse cultural and entertainment events.

How many South American countries will be represented?
We are pleased to say that all Latin-American countries will be present.

What are the highlights of the summit in your opinion?
First, we can highlight the theme of the summit: that will deal with partnerships and also the contribution of the tourism sector to the economy recovery. We believe that the presence of Brazil’s president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, will also bring more visibility and credibility to the event.

NOTE: Brazil’s tourism sector’s revenue grew 20 per cent in the first two months of the year boosted by domestic travellers, according to the Brazilian Tourism Ministry.
Hotel occupation increased 23 per cent nationwide compared with the same period last year and hotels were practically full in the city of Rio de Janeiro during the recent Carnival.
Rio, Brazil’s chief tourist destination, welcomed a total of 2.55 million visitors in the first two months of 2009, 50,000 more than last year.