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Brazil Hopes to Attract as Many Foreign Tourists as Argentina in 2006

The Tourism Salon – Routes of Brazil, which begins today, June 2, in São Paulo, southeastern Brazil, should further boost the sector this year. This is the second edition of the fair, which ends on June 6.

According to the Brazilian Ministry of Tourism, the event should attract a public of approximately 130,000 people. The event should cover an area of 36,000 square meters of exhibition space with 396 options of routes.

The Brazilian states will be represented in the same space. Apart from that, there will also be handicraft, gastronomy, regional art and presentations and even an exhibition of products coming from family farming.

"This is a chance for Brazilians to visit their own country," defined Tânia Brizolla, the general coordinator of the Salon. Apart from watching typical presentations like the dance of Karajá Indians from the northern Brazilian state of Tocantins or seeing musical presentations by band Os Sulinos, from the southern Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul – just two of the 30 attractions to participate in the fair.

Those visiting the fair may also buy travel packages for 20% less than conventional packages. The trade counter is a novelty of this year’s edition. Fifteen operators and 50 travel agencies will participate.

Another novelty is the international business roundtable. Last year, there was only a national version, which generated 74 million reais (US$ 32.6 million) in business perspectives.

For the international area, a total of 76 operators from South America have come at the invitation of the Ministry of Tourism. Before the event, the operators participated in the Brazilian Caravan, in which they visited different points of the country.

As the focus this year is South America, the ministers of Tourism of the Mercosur are also going to participate in the fair. They will meet with the Brazilian Minister of Tourism, Walfrido dos Mares Guia.

Apart from that, the Ministry of Tourism has also invited Spanish, American, German and Latin American journalists.

"We are bringing few foreigners as we are still in a structuring phase. Within two years time, we will certainly be ready to receive people from all over the world," explained Tânia, who is also the director at the Structuring, Articulation and Tourist Organization Department at the Ministry of Tourism.

The event still focuses on the domestic market. "There are still few Brazilians who travel domestically," explained the organizer of the event. Today there are 54 million domestic arrivals. According to the National Tourism Plan (PNT), released in 2004, the target for 2007 is that the total may rise to 65 million.

According to Tânia, this year the fair shows the advances obtained through the PNT. Instead of investing in more routes, the Ministry has selected 87 of the 396 to be presented at the fair and has worked on qualification.

"We have shown that with some details, like care with guides, information, food, a city can have a significant improvement in terms of structure. In some cases, two cities previously separate could become part of one route," she exemplifies.

More than expanding the number of actions, the ministry wants to qualify those already existing. "Our objective is to have an international quality standard."

To make Brazilians travel more, project "Go, Brazil" has been released, targeted at providing incentives to travel operators and agencies so that they may reduce their prices during the season of low occupation.

The fair, which includes the work of 200 tourism students, will include the Nucleus of Knowledge, where there will be talks and conferences.

Tourism has been presenting yearly growth of 18% a year in the last five years. According to the Ministry, up to December, Brazil should receive 7 million foreigners, equaling Argentina. Income should reach US$ 6.3 billion.

If this figure is reached, tourism should become the 3rd item in the export basket, even exceeding soy. The Ministry of Tourism invested 600 million reais (US$ 264 million) in the sector in the last three years.

The perspective of 2006 being a good year for tourism is based on figures for the beginning of the year. For the first time in history, the month of March attracted more foreign funds to Brazil than January.

The total of foreign funds entering the country was US$ 421 million and US$ 403 million, respectively. To the Ministry, this means that business tourism and sustainable growth in the sector have managed to reduce summer tourism.

Tourism Salon – Routes of Brazil
Data: June 2 to 6
Site: Expo Center Norte (Rua José Bernardo Pinto, 333, Vila Guilherme)
Admittance: R$ 10 (US$ 4,40)

Contact
(+55 11) 6224-5959
www.turismo.gov.br

Anba – www.anba.com.br

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