Tourism in Brazil (Photo : Getty Images)
China’s international tourism market has been the global leader since 2014. Despite the big number of travelers in China, tourism in Brazil still gets less than 0.1 percent of the total.
According to Brazil's Ministry of Tourism, 53,064 Chinese tourists visited Brazil in 2015. When the country hosted the Soccer World Cup in 2014, the numbers reached 57,502. The values were not very much, given that there were 100 million Chinese who took international trips in 2015.
The low numbers and the large potential market have pushed Brazil’s tourism sector to aim the Chinese market. The country has made partnerships with China, aiming to attract tourists and increase investments.
A list of accredited agencies to cater Chinese tourists has been released by the Ministry of Tourism. These agencies have started to meet requirements such as specifying guides to follow the tourists and installing emergency phone lines.
A total of 304 agencies are now accredited by Cadastur, the registration system of the Brazil tourism sector. The numbers have dramatically increased from 23 agencies in 2014.
Yet, there is still a hindrance for Chinese tourists--the required visa.
"We must change that policy. As it is difficult to get a visa to enter Brazil, many Chinese tourists choose not to," said Hang Tour President Hang Szeyee.
Another major problem is the language barrier. Brazilian agencies are having a difficulty in welcoming Chinese guests.
According to Lee Chih Li, only a few of his compatriots speak English. Lee is the service supervisor of the Viale Cataratas hotel, in Foz do Iguaçu (PR) and was born in China.
The Brazilian hotel industry now considers having a team of Mandarin-speaking professionals fundamental to attracting more Chinese tourists.
Chinese tourists are also looking for hot water supply, essential for their habit of drinking tea. Easy Internet access is also important to Chinese guests.
"Receptionists must be trained to use the guests' mobiles, insert the password so that they can access the Internet on their phones," Lee said.
The agencies are hoping that more travelers in China will be inspired to experience tourism in Brazil.