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Florianópolis is Brazil’s Second Favorite Foreign Tourist Destination

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The “Ilha da Magia” (Island of Magic) as Florianópolis is popularly known, with its more than forty beaches and eighteen startups condominiums and innovation and technology centers, is the second most popular destination for foreigners in Brazil — Rio de Janeiro holds the lead. The information is the result of a survey conducted by the federal government, involving more than 39,000 foreign tourists.

Santa Catarina has also stood out as a winter tourism destination, running from July to September 23rd.
Santa Catarina also stands out as a winter tourism destination, running from July to September 23rd. (Photo Ricardo Wegrzynovski)

The quiet beaches of the island of the state of Santa Catarina, with extensive infrastructure and incredible natural beauty, have stood out for foreign tourists. Among these factors are the vast hotel network, its population’s hospitality, the typical rich gastronomy of the “manezinhos,” as the natives are called — locals still retain Azorean traditions, the first immigrants who came from Portugal. But above all, its natural wonders.

Born in Santa Catarina, the current secretary of tourism of the state government of São Paulo and former minister of tourism Vinicius Lummertz, emphasizes that the survey result shows what has been worked on over the years. “We have a good business concept for tourism in Santa Catarina, which has been developing together with the innovation sector,” he points out when congratulating the city for its results.

Winter tourism boosts Santa Catarina’s economy

Santa Catarina has also stood out as a winter tourism destination, running from July to September 23rd. Hercílio Luz airport, in Florianópolis, already has 147 extra regular flights and 24 charter flights, until next August 17th.

Check out what Vinicius Lummertz said in full:

The winter attractions in the state include gastronomy, typical festivals, and rural tourism.

Entitled “Study of International Tourist Demand Brazil 2018”, the federal government survey collected answers from 39,811 interviews conducted at the main points of arrival and departure of tourists in Brazil. The research was carried out in 4 stages, during peak, low, medium, and medium-low seasons.

The most significant number of foreign visitors come from South America, at 61.2 percent; followed by Europe at 22.1 percent; North America at 10.4 percent; Asia at 3.9 percent, followed by Africa, Oceania, Central America, and the Caribbean, all at less than 1 percent. The percentage refers to to the 6,621,376 non-resident tourists who arrived in Brazil according to official data. Most preferred to fly to the country, accounting for 65.4 percent; while land routes were the option for 31.5 percent.

South America, led by Argentina, stands out as the most significant tourist provider for Brazil; Europeans are second, particularly France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, Spain, and Portugal. In third place is North America, mostly from the United States. In absolute numbers, the United States is the second largest provider of tourists, after Argentina.

The survey shows that road arrivals have dropped by 15 percent over the last ten years. This reflects the poor condition of most Brazilian roads.

Brazil is still chaotic in terms of logistics

Estanislau Emilio Bresolin, the president of the Federation of Hotels, Restaurants, Bars and Related Services of the State of Santa Catarina (FHORESC), believes that “Brazil is chaotic regarding transportation. There is no way to travel, you come from Europe or the United States, straight to some destination, and you stay there, because you have no (quality) traffic, neither air, nor road, let alone rail”, he complains.

Check out the video below for the full speech of the president of FHORESC, Estanislau Emilio Bresolin:

According to his assessment, the number of foreign tourists in Brazil has not increased significantly in the last fifteen years. “Brazil attracts poorly, it does not grow, that number is static, and it loses out to any destination in Europe or the United States. In other words, Brazil doesn’t know how to attract foreign tourists, and it weighs on us,” says Bresolin.

Leisure: Sun and Beach

Most tourists prefer the warmer months, so the affluence is stronger between December and March, particularly in January when the peak season occurs.

Most tourists claim to come to Brazil for leisure. The number has been stable since 2016, when 56.8 percent came for this purpose, rising only 2 points in 2018, to 58,8 percent.

Among leisure activities, the “Sun and Beach” factor is the one that stands out the most, with 71.7 percent; followed by “nature, ecotourism or adventure” with 16.3 percent; in third place the “culture” factor, with 9.5 percent. The “major events” factor did not score.

The city of Rio de Janeiro leads as the leading destination for tourists that seek “leisure” activities, with 29.7 percent, followed by the capital of Santa Catarina, Florianópolis, with 17.1 percent. However, the State of Santa Catarina has cities as its main destinations. By order: Bombinhas, Balneário Camboriú, and Itapema are the cities most visited by foreigners.

São Paulo leads business tourism

The fact that many researchers consider Brazil as a country with an unstable economy, legal uncertainty, excessive laws, and bureaucracy may be factors for business tourism to be much lower. Even so, it is the second greatest reason for travel, with 13.5 percent in 2018. It is noteworthy that this number has been decreasing, according to the survey. In 2014, business tourism represented 21.9 percent of the total.

In the “business” factor, São Paulo is the main focus, with 48.7 percent, followed by Rio de Janeiro, with 19.7 percent. Other cities such as Curitiba, Campinas, Porto Alegre, Belo Horizonte, and Brasília score under 5 percent each.

The capital of São Paulo is the isolated leader in the segment. The Secretary of Tourism of the State of São Paulo, Vinicius Lummertz, points out that the city is multi-cultural, “the capital of gastronomy,” a modern city, the largest city in the southern hemisphere, and always brings pleasant surprises for tourists. “We’re working so that São Paulo may become more and more attractive, and not only the city of São Paulo, but also the State of São Paulo,” he says.

“Grana, dim-dim, bufunfa, pila”

The words above are some of the ways Brazilians call “paper money”. Moreover, in this regard, the average spending of foreigners in Brazil suffered a slight drop.

While in 2017 the average spending was US$55.78; in 2018 the average daily expenditure stood at US$53.96.

Check out the video on the secretary’s speech about tourism in São Paulo:

The Americans are the biggest spenders in the country, with US$59,35 per day, followed by US$48.25 by Europeans. However, Europeans stay longer in the country.


The Internet is the preferred tool for foreigners to find out more about Brazil. The means are used by 55.7 percent; followed by information from friends and relatives with 26.4 percent. Travel Agents represent a tiny 5.9 percent. Printed materials such as folders represent only 0.1 percent of the primary source of information for organizing trips. The Internet is also the primary means for booking services, such as transportation, accommodation, attractions and tours, tour packages, and car rentals.


The survey showed that for 38.5 percent of foreign tourists, the “level of satisfaction” exceeded expectations, while for 1.5 percent, the visit to Brazil was disappointing. The intent to return rate is also high. The number remains stable, 95.4 percent of tourists said they wanted to return to Brazil. Of those who came to the country last year, 68.6 percent said they had already been here other times, and 31.4 percent said it was their first trip.

Check out the complete research at


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