The Brazil Report 2014

This report focusses on the Brazilian International Tourism Market and provides you with the key facts and motivators for the Brazilian market.

General Overview

Scottish Enterprise and Scottish Development International commissioned research into the International Tourism Markets of Brazil, Russia, India and China. This report focusses on the Brazilian International Tourism Market and provides you with the key facts and motivators for the Brazilian market. This report assists you in identifying and maximising the opportunities for tourism in Scotland by providing you with an understanding of what Brazilian visitors to Scotland want and expect. With that understanding, and by working together, you can help realise the tourism potential for Scotland.

The growing strength of the Brazilian economy and currency has seen Brazilians travelling in greater numbers. According to the World Tourism Organisation, international tourism expenditure by Brazilians amounted to $21.3bn; almost double what it was two years previously. Globally, Brazil represents the 12th most valuable source market for international tourism. The USA ranks as the top international destination, followed by Europe, Asia Pacific, Africa and the Middle East. From a European perspective, the United Kingdom ranks fifth in the top ten destinations for Brazilian visitors. In terms of expenditure, the UK ranks eighth amongst international destinations for Brazilians and receives 4% of their outbound spending.

In 2011, Brazilians made 276,000 visits to the UK. In the past five years, visits to the UK by Brazilians has increased 146% and their spending has doubled. While London attracts the largest number Edinburgh ranks second in a study of top UK visitor destinations visited by Brazilians.

Almost 27% of Brazilian outbound tourists are aged between 25 and 34. A further 23% are aged between 35 and 49. Couples represent almost 30% of the total outbound market. Some 34% travel within a four to seven day period and over 21% take over 15 days.

Brazilians tend to travel in the Brazilian high season and in the hottest months. Peak periods are generally January and February, November and December and July. Most people travel for leisure and holidays (61%), for business purposes (19%), or visiting friends and relatives (15%).

When travelling, most Brazilians choose to stay in hotels (64%) and around 20% with friends or relatives. Self-catering counts for around 5%.

Market Analysis

Europe has a strong pull for Brazilians, mainly from the strong cultural connections with Portugal. Portugal is a gateway to Europe for many Brazilian travellers and the compact nature of Europe, with relatively short travel distances is appealing. It is important to bear in mind that with limited English spoken in Brazil, the perceived language barrier can be a significant issue for those considering UK travel.

Research suggests that outside of the usual clichés, there is little information on Scotland available to Brazilians and indeed many are uncertain as to what the UK actually is. The Brazilian travel industry itself states that demystifying the UK should be a priority.

Interestingly; however, Scotland does feature in Brazilians’ dream activities and iconic images. For example, in a VisitBritain survey, 30% would choose to spend a night in a Scottish castle while on a UK visit (ranking as the third top activity). In a similar survey, 19% of Brazilian respondents identified a castle in the Scottish Highlands as the second most iconic image of a UK holiday.

Beyond Scotland’s iconic imagery and romantic appeal, a number of secondary drivers for a UK visit could also apply to Scotland itself. Among these are football (popular among men), shopping (a significant Brazilian pastime), music and nightlife.

The projected view for potential UK visitor numbers from Brazil shows a growing trend, with likely numbers increasing to 500,000 by 2021.

Brazilian tourists are chiefly represented by the large middle class and made up of couples (pre and post family), together with young people. Driven by the images of Scotland as a country of kilts, whisky, ghost stories, monsters and castles, these are likely to influence romantic, local experiences like castles, culture, festivals and fairs, pubs, rugged beauty and historic towns.

Brazilians love brands and shopping. Clothing, bags, shoes and designer products top the list, and shopping tourism in European cities is a recognised rising market. With high taxation in Brazil, many visitors take home an extra suitcase of purchases.

Brazilians have a fascination for the UK Royal Family. With that in mind, anything that highlights a link will create a strong pull for visitors from Brazil.

An interesting fact to note is that while an online booking trend is growing, Brazilian visitors usually book through a travel agent or tour operator. While traditional, established hotel brands are preferred, the emerging generation of younger couples look for brands delivering a local flavour experience.

Taking VisitBritain’s Brazil Tourism Market Strategy 2013-2016, there is direct correlation between this strategy and its applicability to Scottish tourism. Looking at each of the market segments in turn:

Independent Travellers

This AB social class view London and Edinburgh as attractive brands. Most are Generation Y (born 1980 – 1992), and are price-sensitive and seek famous destinations. They research through the internet and the press and social media influence them. They make bookings online and regard online travel agent air, ticket and hotel reservations as “direct” bookings.

Luxury Travellers

Many of the UK’s brands will resonate with Brazil’s wealthiest A+ social class, among them Fortnum & Mason, Burberry, Jaguar and Stella McCartney. Linking luxury to destinations, exclusive Scottish experiences linking royalty, golf and whisky will rank highly. This segment uses the travel trade and needs support in the search for good service and exclusive luxury.

New International Travellers

With social mobility growing Brazil’s upper/middle class, the number of visitor opportunities rises. With the majority from Generations X and Y, their focus rests on main gateways, and for the UK, London. This group enjoys sharing their experiences and travel affirms their status. They enjoy tours, and in light of limited international experience, they generally make bookings through the travel trade.

Student Travellers

This group spans the A, B and C social classes. This group is likely to be attracted to a wider variety of UK destinations including London, Oxford, Cambridge, Brighton, Manchester, Liverpool and Edinburgh. Their goals are significantly different from the other traveller segments, since their focus rests on cultural experiences and the opportunity to build their English skills, mixing language training and leisure. Typically, study programmes last four to six weeks, with placements and accommodation arranged through specialist providers. They generally book air tickets and weekend trips themselves.

The Online Trend

While Brazilians generally book travel through agencies, they use the internet to research and gather information to support their decision-making. The expectation is that Brazil will become the third fastest growing online travel sales market between 2011 and 2016. Currently, there is evidence of a general shift from offline to online consumer purchasing; however, for travel products, the window is narrow and limited primarily to domestic travel.

Statistics show that website searches (54%), and family or friends’ recommendations (53%) are the main information sources that influence destination decisions. General search engines and online travel agency websites constitute the main sources for destination selection.

Brazilians engage strongly with social media content. Facebook is the clear leader in Brazilian social media, followed by Orkut. Alongside social networking sites, Brazil ranks among the world’s highest for blog activity. Estimates suggest 2.6 million Brazilians update their blog daily and that such sites reach an unusually high percentage of the Brazilian internet audience (71% as opposed to an average of 50% worldwide).

Business Tourism

While business travel from Brazil is strong, for the UK, visits from Brazil have been relatively flat over the past decade, accounting for 10% of visits. However, the advantages of this market segment are positive, and feature the highest spend per night among Brazilians visiting the UK and the second highest spend per visit after study visitors.

Increasingly, professionals from Brazil attend international events and conferences, and regard the UK as a potential investment destination. That said, Scotland does not register specifically in this regard and significant marketing effort needs applied to address this.

How to Reach the Market

Of over 12,000 travel agencies in Brazil, just over 3,200 are members of the Brazilian Association of Travel Agents. These agencies account for 70% of the global sales volume. CVC is Brazil’s largest travel agency and is the absolute market leader for sales and tourist packages. That said, the number of online agencies is growing rapidly and with the internet audience set to expand, further opportunities will arise.

Local Brazilian brands secure the majority of the top rankings when it comes to websites that influence purchasing decisions. ranked first, followed by and Viajanet, then airline sites and The top three online tour operators are, Decolar and Priceline.

It is important to understand that currently the major operators do not specifically offer Scotland as a stand-alone destination. Rather, Europe and specifically the UK feature. The market knowledge of Scotland is weak, with most information available relating to England and Ireland.

GTi Travel Group, Go West Ltd, Select Travel Service and Voyage Privé are all key inbound tour operators with offices or representatives in Brazil that also have offices in the UK.

Doing business in Brazil requires an understanding of Brazilian business etiquette. To work effectively, Brazilians need to know who they are working with. Face to face contact is the preference and relationship building is critical before any negotiations start. While business communications are relatively informal, detailed written contracts are valued highly. Brazilian culture is hierarchical and it is vital that senior people are engaged in negotiations. Brazilians regard personal interaction with individuals as being more important than the company they represent, and with that in mind, it is essential not to change personnel mid-negotiations.

In general, business transactions in Brazil take three times longer to complete than in the UK and cost three times as much. In many instances, a deal will close after a full day of socialising and complete avoidance of specific business discussions.

Cultural Implications

Brazil is the only Portuguese-speaking country in the Americas. Research by VisitBritain suggests that the English language is seen as a barrier for Brazilian visitors since English is not widely spoken. Consequently, public relations and social media in Brazilian Portuguese will help demystify destinations in the UK and promote greater visitor numbers.

Television is an enormous influencer in Brazil and often regarded as the most reliable and relevant source of information. Programmes such as Telenovelas often screen episodes recorded outside Brazil and channel attention towards those destinations. Social media plays its part in travel planning and often interacts with traditional media such as television. Travel agencies greatly influence travel decisions as a direct consequence of the perceived cultural and language barriers, coupled with inexperience in international travel. Newer approaches, such as collective buying is gathering pace in Brazil though websites such as Groupon, Clickon and Peixe Urbano.   

Did You Know?

  • Brazil has the seventh largest internet audience worldwide and the largest in Latin America.
  • Estimates suggest Brazil will become the third fastest growing online travel sales market between 2011 and 2016.
  • Website and personal recommendations from friends and family are key to informing decisions to visit destinations.
  • General search engines and online travel agencies are the main websites used for destination selection.
  • Airline websites have a clear lead over online travel agencies; however, hotel websites attract fewer buyers than online travel agencies.
  • Local brands lead in the rankings when it comes to top travel sites.
  • Brazilian engagement with social media content is significant. Facebook, followed by Orkut is the leading social media website.
  • In terms of blog activity, Brazil ranks among the highest in the world.