Brazil is the largest country in South America. The country is situated along the east central coast and has over 193 million people. The country has 26 states and one federal district.
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With an area of 8547404 square kilometers, Brazil has a lot to offer in terms of international tourism. The country has a blend of cultural and natural sites making it a preferred destination in Latin America. The country’s natural beauty and international recognition are crucial to attracting tourist around the world.
The country’s natural beauty sites include: the Rio de Janeiro city with its mystic carnival, the natural beauty of the Amazon, wildlife, the pristine of the Atlantic coastline, volcanic beaches, waterfalls, mountains among other scenic tourist sites (Brazil Ministry of Tourism).
The country has many modernistic cities such as Brasilia, Sao Paulo and ecologically advanced cities such as Curitiba. Brazil expects to attract over 9 million tourists every year.
In Brazil the promotion and regulation of tourism is mainly carried out by the ministry of trade, Commerce and Tourism. There are tourism ministries in each state. The ministry is responsible for promoting and advertising tourism in the country and aboard.
Despite having a huge potential, Brazil tourism sector has been hampered by several problems. These problems stem from poor policy and managerial strategies as well as lack of supervision in this industry. There is need to revitalize the tourism sector in Brazil. In this paper, a critical analysis of the existing policy in Brazil is done so as to reveal areas that need amendments.
The Challenges Facing Tourism Sector
There are several challenges that face the tourism sector. An analysis of these problems is imperative because the policies are mainly developed to curtail these problems.
There is also the need for the tourism ministry to team up with other ministries so that the development in the country is holistic. For example, for tourism to thrive security must be improved and this is the responsibility of security agents and defense. The major challenges include:
Political corruption has been inculcated in the Brazilian culture. Brazil has high level of corruptions and is ranked by transparency international as the having high corruption rates. Brazil is ranked no 68 as of 2012. Most of the corruption stems from the elite members of the community seeking to take power instead of allowing political participation for all.
Poor political leadership result to the direction of resources towards areas controlled by the elite in the society rather than to tourism. Due to corruption, most politicians concentrate on their own needs and neglect tourism industry. In order to revitalize tourism, government resources should be directed to the tourism sector and it should be given first priority.
Poverty and crime
Despite the brimming natural beauty culture and energetic people, the country suffers great poverty, inequality, crime and violence. There are many shanty towns in the country and a great divide between the poor and the rich. The numerous shanties result to increased crime which is a great impediment towards tourism growth.
Police have little control over the shanties and they use futile and harsh methods which result in the death of innocent people. Lack of proper police control results to a power vacuum which leads to other heinous crimes such as drug trafficking.
Most of the shanty towns develop in tourist zones and this hinders tourism development. Crimes committed against tourists have far reaching effects and this makes tourist avoid Brazil.
Poor and insufficient infrastructure
Promotion of tourism necessitates the development of other investments to support the tourism sector. The development of the tourism sector requires that there are adequate roads to take the tourist to their destination. Of the 350 national parks in the country, very few have adequate hotels, information centers and restaurants. There is also the need to develop hotels which are spacious and luxurious.
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The government may not have enough money to invest in this area but it can encourage the private sector to build hotels. The government should also refine the foreign policy so as to attract investors in the hotel and hospitality industry.
Transportation is another vital issue preventing the growth of this industry. Some tourist destinations are not accessible by road or air. For example, tourism in the Amazon rainforest could be more developed if there was appropriate infrastructure. This makes tourism in this forest incipient.
Lack of strategies
There is general lack of appropriate strategies, vision and goals. Most of the historical, cultural and natural sites are unexploited because of lack of clear goals and objectives on how to promote tourism in this country. There is need to have strategic goals which consolidate, improve and market all tourist destination.
Brazil has stringent measures imposed on foreign tourist. They are required to pass through a maze of bureaucracy, pay for tax and wait for long period before greeting the visa. This makes tourist avoid these lengthy procedures and opt to go to other destinations.
There are also environmental issues associated with tourism. Increase in population results to increased pollution and destruction of the environment.
Discussions On Main Policies
There are several policies that are used to promote foreign tourism in Brazil. These policies are not effective and need to be changed. The National Tourism Plan (NTP) was a planning and management tool developed so as to induce development in the tourism sector and also result to increased jobs and income.
NTP main objective is to create new employments and bring tourists in the domestic market (Ministry of Tourism). To achieve these objectives, NTP has special emphasis on social aspects of tourism so as to benefit the community and ensure that aspects of ecotourism are inculcated in the new plan.
NTP was expected to continue the functions started by the Brazilian tourism institute (Embratur) such as consolidating the major tourist destination in the country. The main actions stipulated by the NTP are tourism promotion, strengthening the domestic tourism, training workers in the hotel industry and promoting Brazil abroad (Ministry of Tourism). One of the goals of NTP is to accelerate growth in the tourism sector.
This will be achieved by partnership between the private and public sector. The state will deal with logistics infrastructure such as development of roads, airports and water ways; energy infrastructure and urban social infrastructure. The private sector will in turn be motivated to build hotels.
The participation of the private sector is very important. In addition to allowing the private sector construct more hotels, the government should carry out an audit and classify hotels based on the amenities they have. Profiling hotels gives imperative information to potential tourist as they are able to choose hotels that suit their class.
Holistic development in this sector will require other participants in the private sector such as tourism agencies, tourism operators, private jet operators, providers of the tourism services, merchandise companies, promotional film producers and other stakeholders. The government policy framework should create an enabling environment to ensure that all these people participate in an equitable manner.
The NTP plans for development of infrastructure is credible and will achieve good success as tourism development relies heavily on the infrastructure. The policy should therefore target on improving the national infrastructure.
There is also the need for the increased private sector participation in infrastructural development. The policy should lower the taxes and other charges levied to those willing to start hotels at designated tourist sites. The policy should also offer incentives to those in the private sector willing to engage in provision of infrastructure.
The current policy does not include the issue of foreign investments in the tourism sector. Foreign investors usually bring a lot of experience, technology and other innovations that can rejuvenate the whole industry.
The foreign investors are also likely to carry out advertisement in other nations more effectively as compared to Brazil. The NTP should therefore be improved so as to consider creating an attractive environment for foreign investments in this sector.
Promotion of eco-tourism is a center theme in the NTP. Social inclusion is imperative in the development of sustainable tourism. Involving the society will enable the local residents gain income from the tourism sector.
The income from this sector will transform the shanty towns to better residential areas which will result to reduction in crime and violence. Creating jobs will also shift the society from immoral behaviors such as prostitution which is seen as a moral evil resulting from tourism.
Another NTP goal is to increases the competitiveness of the Brazilian tourist products. It is imperative that products be marketed both nationally and internationally. Aggressive marketing will be necessary to ensure that products are marketed into international market so that potential tourist can choose Brazil as their destination.
NTP also seeks to consolidate tourist information. This will enable the organization perform a social, economic and environmental survey and identify areas that need improvement.
This is necessary as it will act a means of monitoring and evaluating the tourism sector in order to indentify shortfalls and develop appropriate strategies to meet these goals. Periodic assessment of the industry is pivotal to the overall success of the sector (Healy 1996).
Education is another key strategy in the NTP policy document. Educating the people in the tourism and hospitality industry will create more jobs for the local resident.
Training the locals on tourism will also ensure that the services provided to the tourist are of high quality and more attractive to the tourists. As aforementioned, creation of jobs will result to reduction in poverty levels and crime.
Another key area is the decentralization of the tourism industry, currently tourism is concentrated on certain areas and this results to uneven development prompting more and more people to move to these areas. This results to development of poor neighborhood. Decentralization is therefore crucial in ensuring equitable distribution of the resources from tourism.
NTP also addresses the issue of management of the tourism sector. Proper management of the sector is imperative in achieving the set goals and objectives.
The management should however work with the private sector and ensure the investor views and concerns are addressed by the current management system (Hotelmule). There is need to establish a stakeholders committee comprising of the private and public sector members.
Issues To Be Addressed
One of the issues not directly addressed by the NTP is the need to improve security in the country. For tourism to succeed, security must be improved in all the major tourist destination sites. The government need to develop policies geared at improving security especially in this sector. Strategies such as enrolling more policemen so as to increase the number of policemen serving a given area should be done.
Though the government has been trying to establish special units to protect tourists, their efforts have been thwarted by their ineffective operations. The state should give special training to tourist police, procure adequate resources and institute aggressive operations and crackdown against crime perpetrators.
Community policing should also be encouraged in addition to the normal police force. Most people who live in favelas are decent and law abiding and would like the crime rates to reduce. These people would easily volunteer information to the police and improve the security of the whole region.
Branding is another concept that has not been given priority in the policy documents. Branding entails the development of a brand name for Brazil. There are several brands that represent Brazil but there is no consistent brand.
The country needs to develop a dominant brand name that will be recognized worldwide. There are attempts to produce brand image for the country (Ham 2001). Aspects such as football, modernity, Christianity, strength, vibrancy should all be taken into consideration when developing the brand.
The issue of inculcating culture on Brazil tourism has not been addressed by the NTP. Cultural creates a unique brand name which attract tourist to the destination country. The government should encourage the local people to develop products linked to their culture as well as painting that represent cultural heritage of Brazil. These products will increase trade and also create employment.
The NTP does not also emphasize on protection of the environment. There is need to check the environmental impacts that tourism has. There are many sites that are currently under threat due to urbanization. First the government should carry out an extensive environmental impact analysis and then develop strategies to mitigate any environmental pollution taking place.
Ecotourism should bring health, educations and other amenities to the community. In order to develop ecotourism, the country should partner with the international community and organizations that can finance ecotourism. Historical sites in Brazil should also be protected.
Towns such as Ouro Preto in Minas Gerais which were ancient mining grounds and other areas should be consolidated and refurbished so as to attract more tourists.
A political corruption is another impediment to development in the tourism sector. Corrupt leaders focus on self interest as opposed to national development. The government should establish a proper governance structure for the tourism sector.
The state should also view tourism as a major income earner and allocate more resources so as to revamp the industry. Some of the money earned from the tourism sectors should be directly invested in the sector.
The NTP does not address the issue of reducing the travel regulations document. The government should develop strategies that make it easy for travelers to Brazil destination to obtain visas in a speedy way.
Complicated processing procedure brings about uncertainties and these could reduce the number of tourist visiting the country. Thus, the visa processing procedure and time should be reduced and tourist given the guarantee that their travel documents will be processed in time.
Sexual tourism and prostitution have not been addressed in the NTP policy. Though the policy talks about creating jobs, it does not explicitly deal with the problem of prostitution and exploitations of children to sex. Since prostitution is legal in Brazil, it has the capacity to thrive and increase. The government should strive to move prostitution away from tourist destinations by establishing areas where it can be practiced.
Proper governance should also be advocated for. Tourism and other sectors of the economy depend on the political environment. Strict penalties should be given to those who take bribes. All public officials engaging in unethical behavior should be penalized heavily. The government should encourage anticorruption agencies to deal with cases regarding corruption and abuse of power.
In culmination, Brazil is richly endowed with many tourist attractions sites. The tourism industry can significantly contribute to the development of the nation if well harnessed.
The nations has been facing some impediments such as violence and increase in crime, sexual tourism, lack of proper policies, poor infrastructure, corruption, lack of a good branding procedures and failure to implement ecotourism. These challenges can be overcome by formulating proper policies that can improve the sector.
Among the main areas that should be considered are improvements of infrastructure, enhancing the Brazil brand, adopting aggressive promotional strategies, inculcating cultural aspects into the tourism products, educating the communities, adopting ecotourism, improving the services provided by policemen and improving governance.
Policymakers should therefore formulate regulations such that these crucial recommendations will be achieved.
Brazil Ministry of Tourism, Brazilian Ministry of Tourism Website. Web.
Ham, P. 2001, ‘The Rise of the Brand State: The Postmodern Politics of Image and Reputation.’ Foreign Affairs. Vol.80 no. 5, pp101-105.
Healy, R. G 1996,Tourism Policy in Brazil: Development Alternatives and Environmental Consequences, Nicholas School of the Environment, Duke University.
Hotelmule, Brazil Tourism Policies and Trends – Hotelmule – Hospitality and Tourism Industry Portal. Web.
Ministry of Tourism, Brazil 2007. 2007-2010 National tourism plan. A journey towards inclusion. Web.