This paper is a brief overview of Brazil as a country and as a tourism destination. Brazil has an enormous potential to be the number one tourism destination in the whole world, however many aspects must be improved. The last chapter will describe how different factors are affecting the hospitality business in Brazil.
From a research point of view, Brazil was somehow difficult country to study. Majority of the Brazilian Internet pages are only in Portuguese, which makes it rather difficult to figure out of what it is all about. Also the books that found from Helsinki were few in numbers. I had to rely basically on Lonely Planet series and Passport s runaway travel guides. I will start with brief introduction to the country.
2. Brazil Facts at a Glance
Brazil is the fifth largest country in the world by area, it is only slightly smaller then the United States of America. It has land boundaries with almost all of the countries in the South America; only expectations are Chile and Ecuador. It has also a long coastline, about 7,500 kilometres. Large parts of Brazil is scarcely populated, especially Amazon area, but on the other hand, there are a two huge cities, Rio de Janeiro and S o Paulo.
Brazil can be divided in four major geographic regions. The large highlands extend over most of the Brazil s interiors south of the Amazon Basin. The Amazon Basin and Paraguay Basin, the two great depressions, cover northern parts of the country. The fourth region is the narrow coastline.
Population is estimated to be around 171 million, of which 55% are European descent, 38% mulatto, and 6% African descent. Of course, these figures are only estimations. All of the Brazilians are descent of Portuguese, Italians, Germans, Japanese, Amerindians, and Africans. Portuguese is the official language, but also Spanish, English and French are spoken.
Brazil is the one of the largest producer of agricultural goods; it is the largest in orange juice and coffee and the second largest in soybeans. Other main products are rice, corn sugarcane and cocoa. However, agriculture accounts only 8 % of the GDP. Manufacturing sector creates 33 % and services 59 % of the total GDP. The main industrial products are textiles, shoes and chemicals.
The tourism sector is relatively small in Brazil if considered with relation to the unused possibilities that the country possess. In 1998, according to WTO, tourism produced, both directly and indirectly, revenue of $75 billion. That accounts 9.7% of the GDP. In global scale, Brazil accounts only 0.3 % of the world total. However, Brazil has enjoyed one of the highest growth rates in Latin America in terms of incoming tourism. In 1997, the number of foreigners visiting Brazil grew by 12.3 %, compared with 1996.
3.1. Tourism strategies in Brazil
The national tourism organization is called Embratur Empresa Brasileira de Turismo. It was set up in 1986 by the Federal Government. In 1991 it became autonomous government entity and it was renamed to Instituto Brasileiro de Tourismo (the Brazilian Tourist Board). In general, Embratur has the same functions as any other tourism board in the world. It coordinates and manages the tourism as a whole and sets the directions to which the tourism development should be going in Brazil.
Embratur has launched numerous programmes to develop the tourism in Brazil. I will go over the most important ones.
The national Programme for Municipalisation of Tourism (PNTM) aims to inform municipalities of how the tourism should be developed. It emphasizes that natural beauty or tourism potential itself are not enough to support tourism or allow it to grow. The programme helps the municipalities to guide the tourism growth to the right direction by giving information and establishing relations between governmental organs.
Action Programme for the Development of Tourism (PRODETUR) was conceived as result of initiatives by the Governors of the states of NE Brazil, by SUDENE, by the Banco do Nordeste, by Embratur, and by the Integrated Tourism commission of the Northeast. Its aim is to establishing basic infrastructure for hospitality in areas with tourism potential. It focuses on attracting private sector funding to build new hotels and modernizing existing ones. By this programme, visible results have been achieved in the Northeastern part of the Brazil, which has grown to one of the most important tourism regions in Brazil.
Professional Training for Tourism aims to educate people to professionals in tourism in Brazil. It has signed an agreement with universities and institutes to provide post-graduate level education in hospitality. The universities involved in this programme are briefly described in chapter.
3.2. Most interesting tourism regions
Brazil is usually divided in five regions: south, southeast, midwest, northeast, and north. The most important tourism regions are the southeast with Rio de Janeiro and S o Paulo, the north with the Amazon, and rapidly growing northeastern region.
Southeastern part of Brazil is probably the most well known part of the country. The urban heart encompasses the two metropolises, Rio de Janeiro and S o Paulo. The carnival, frenzied nightlife, beaches and culture are only few attractions of this region.
Northern region is characterizised by the Amazon. Of the twenty major rivers of the planet, ten belong to the Amazon basin. Furthermore, the rainforest surrounding the river is world s biggest biological reserve, where one third of the planet s species are found. The northern region is ideal for eco-tourism, but still lots of opportunities are not used for tourism purposes.
Northeastern part is developing rapidly towards an international destination. The everlasting summer and charming beaches build a base for many tourism opportunities. In addition, major sanitation and urbanization projects are likely to attract tourist from all over the world.
3.3. Pull factors of the country
Due to the huge size of the country it is impossible to list even ten of the most important single attractions in Brazil. However, there are four major or general attractions in Brazil. These are also the main pull factors of the country, the reasons why to travel to Brazil.
Football One cannot speak about Brazil without mentioning football and vice versa. It is like religion in Brazil. Brazil is the only country that has won the world cup four times, Pel is the most famous player in the world, Rivaldo is the current best player in the world, etc. Football attracts also tourists to Brazil. They usually want to see the Maracan , which is the biggest football stadium in the world with capacity for 160,000 persons. Tourists also want so see a football matches in Brazil, because the atmosphere is unique. It is impossible to describe it in the text; one has to experience it personally.
The Amazon 30% of world s forest is still in the Amazonas, despite the heavy deforestation. The Amazon is also the biggest river in the world. It is estimated that 15,000 species of Amazon creatures are not yet been classified. For example biologist are unable to identify 30% of the fish catch found in Bel m s markets. The special nature and the abundant wildlife make The Amazon one of the major attractions of Brazil
Rio de Janeiro and the Carnival These two attractions are inseparable. Although the Carnival in Rio is very commercial nowadays, it still is the Carnival in Brazil, even though there are more authentic celebrations held elsewhere. Five days of samba and partying make the event as famous over the world as the World Cup or Olympics. Rio de Janeiro is also an attraction worth of seeing. The famous beach of Copacabana and the P o de A *car (Sugar Loaf) are two places that almost everyone recognizes. However, Rio de Janeiro s reputation as a violent city has rapidly decreased the number of tourists visiting the city.
3.4. Most interesting attractions
Brazil can be compared with United States when it comes to the amount of attractions in the country. It is impossible to list even the most important ones, because some will be left out. However, if have gathered here four attractions that are mentioned frequently in different travel guides. Nevertheless, such sights as the Amazon are left out, because there are hundreds of attractions in the Amazonas area. Please refer also to the chapter 1.2, the pull factors of the country.
Rio de Janeiro must be mentioned here. It can be compared with cities like New York, Paris, and London. It is the most famous city in the South America. It is known by its Carnival, Sugarloaf mountain, Christ the Redeemer statue, Copacabana and Ipanema beaches, Maracan stadium, and countless other sights. Standards of living vary greatly and the city is practically divided to the luxurious part and to the slums. The crime rates are also very high, which may scare tourist from the Rio.
Bras lia must be mentioned here too. It is the capital of Brazil built between years 1957-60. It is one of the most ambitious projects in the world. The whole city was build in the middle of nowhere practically out of nowhere. Actually, it is only the administrative capital; it was not designed for people but for automobiles. The distances are huge and hardly anyone walks. However, it is World Heritage Site and also a proof of modern architecture.
Igua u Falls are one of the three great falls in the world, Victoria Falls in Africa and Niagara Falls in North America being the others. Igua u Falls are located in southern border of Brazil. The falls are huge in size, over 3km wide and 80m high.
The Pantanal is situated in the Central West part of the Brazil, near Bolivian border. It is the best place to see wildlife in Brazil. In Amazon animals can hide easily in the dense forest, but in the Pantanal there are no hiding places. The Pantanal itself is about half the size of France (230,000 sq km.) of which less than 100,000 sq km. is in Bolivia and Paraguay. The reason for such a rich wildlife is the yearly flooding, which takes part from October to March. The whole region is turned into swamp. In March the waters begin to recede and eventually in autumn the Pantanal is turned into savannah.
4. Travelling and lodging in Brazil
4.1. Getting there and away
Brazilian national airline is called Varig. It is the largest air transportation company in Latin America. Is has scheduled flights from most of the main European and North-American airports to Guarulhos Int l (GRU) in S o Paulo and Rio de Janeiro Int l (GIG).
Also Recife is popular gateway airport among German package turners.
In 1997 Varig joined Star Alliance, which is a strategic cooperative association that brings together ten airline companies around the world, including Lufthansa, SAS, United Airlines, and Air Canada.
4.2. Getting around in Brazil
Since Brazil is the fifth largest country in world by area, the distances are huge. Therefore it is wise to take plane even inside Brazil, although fares are relatively expensive. Especially in Amazonas, where the roads can be quite bumpy and uncomfortable, flying is a prior choice. However, bus connections are also excellent between major cities. The fares are also much cheaper when compared with flight fares. Road network is being constructed with rapid pace and nowadays it is possible to travel by bus even in the Amazonas.
Third mean of travel is by train. Although there are over 30,000 km of track in Brazil, but the passenger services are very limited. Nevertheless, train enthusiasts can find some very scenic routes in Brazil.
There is wide variety of accommodation services throughout Brazil, from modes bed and breakfast places to five-star luxury hotel chains. Most of the biggest chains can be found in Rio de Janeiro and S o Paulo, including Sheraton, Inter-Continental, and Hilton. There are also Brazilian chains, such as Othon, Nacional, and Luxor. Hotels in Rio and S o Paulo are more expensive than those in other cities and the peak holiday seasons do raise the price further.
5. Brazilian cuisine food and beverages
Brazilian cuisine has influences from various parts of the world. The strongest influencer is Portugal, because Portuguese expeditors found Brazil. However, also Italian and German influences can be seen. In addition, most of the seasonings and cooking styles come from West Africa because of the former slave population. Lastly, Brazilian cuisine has also a touch from the west, particularly Japan.
Brazilian cuisine has two very typical ingredients. The first one is manioc, which is derived from the cassava root and then grinded. It is sprinkled over everything, like Italians use Parmesan cheese. The second typical ingredient is palm oil, which Brazilians call dend oil. It provides strong taste and golden hue that is typical for Brazilian dishes. However, it is not too healthy, as it contains mostly saturated fat.
5.2. Typical dishes and beverages
Caipirinha is probably the most known Brazilian alcoholic beverage to the world. It consists of lime wedges (preferably the South American lime), sugar, and cacha a, which is Brazilian sugarcane liquor.
Batida Paulista (Rum cocktail) is also made from cacha a and it is usually served with Feijoada (Brazilian national dish). Its ingredients, besides cacha a, are, egg white, sugar, fresh lemon juice, and ice. The drink is shaken and served from old-fashioned glass.
Vitamina de Abacate (Avocado and Milk Cooler) is virgin cocktail, or rather a milkshake. It is done in blender with avocado, some milk, sugar and vanilla extract. The drink is quite healthy.
Feijoada Completa is Brazil s national dish. Its main ingredients are black beans and various sorts of meats. It should include both smoked and fresh meats, at least smoked tongue and dried beef. In Brazil they also use pig s tail and ears in this dish. Feijoada completa s side dishes can be sliced oranges, M lho de Pimenta e Lim o (chilli and lemon sauce), fresh onion rings, or white rice.
Feijoada completa is important part of every party or festival in Brazil. The presentation is all-important. The meats are served on a large platter, the beans in a tureen, and the accompaniments, each in a separate dish, are arranged around the two main dishes. Traditionally the diners serve themselves.
Peixe com M lho de Tangerina (Fish in tangerine sauce) is an example of Brazilian seafood dish. It can be done either from fish fillets or the whole fish can be used. The fish itself is sea bass or haddock and it is baked with cilantro (fresh coriander), onion rings, and tangerine.
B lo de Frutas (Fruit cake with wine, chocolate and cloves) is typical, sweet Brazilian dessert. It combines various tropical fruits unusually with wine, chocolate, and cloves. The cake is made of layers. Between them is put jelly to hold them together. The cake is then topped with powdered sugar.
6. Studying hospitality and tourism in Brazil
Hospitality education is still in its relative childhood in Brazil. Embratur, the Brazilian national tourist board, has launched a program to develop the higher education system. At the moment, there are three universities offering master s degree in tourism and leisure and one university offering doctorate in hotel administration. In addition, there are growing number of educational institutions offering wide variety of courses related to hospitality and tourism.
Universidade de S o Paulo (S o Paulo)
This university offers masters degree in tourism and leisure. It is difficult to say whether this university is highly appreciated or not, since it s Internet pages are only in Portuguese (www.usp.br). The university has almost 40 different institutions or faculties, which makes it one of the biggest universities in Brazil. However, the lack of English pages implies that it might be quite difficult for foreigners to attend the master s degree programme.
Universidade Estadual de Campinas UNICAMP (S o Paulo)
The university has been founded in 1966, so it is still a young educational institution. The master s degree in leisure is even younger as a diploma, since it has been established after the launch of Embratur s educational programme. The university s Internet pages are well designed, although the English part is limited. The university itself is same in size as Helsinki University when measured by the number of enrolled students. Moreover, the university has a good reputation in the field, its graduates have succeed very well in their working life.
Universidade Luter na do Brasil
The university offers masters degree in hotel administration. Its Internet site did not function, so I did not have any information source about the university in general or about the master s degree programme. The only piece of information that I could find was that the degree programme is completed in association with Universidade Fernando Pessoa (Porto, Portugal), Universidad Las Palmas (Gran Canaria, Spain), and Servi o Nacional do Com rcio (Porto Alegre, Brasil). The two former ones are universities whereas the last one is Brazilian national commerce association.
University of Texas Institute of Latin America Studies (Austin, US)
Although this university is not in Brazil, I find it important to mention it here. This university has a whole institute for Latin America studies and a Brazil centre, which promotes the educational relations between United States and Brazil. University of Texas offers vide variety of courses that are related to Brazil. Courses in tourism can also be found from the university.
7. Country dimensions by Hofstede
These four dimensions, power distance, uncertainty avoidance, femininity versus masculinity, and individualism versus collectivism, refer to Geert Hofstede s research on cultural dimensions (Hofstede, 1991). He studied IBM workers in 53 countries world vide. Also a recent study on national culture in aviation by Robert L. Helmreich is base for following chapter.
7.1. Power Distance
Power distance means, by definition, the acceptance by subordinates of unequal power distribution. Brazil scored high in power distance in both of the studies (Hofstede 14th place out of 53, Helmreich 4/22). This means that it is quite widely accepted in Brazil that superiors are above their subordinates and a considerable dependence exists between them. This relatively high score in power distance can also be reflected to society in Brazil. There are huge gaps between social classes. Vast amount of people live in shantytowns and are poor and a small number of people possess the real power.
7.2. Individualism versus collectivism
This dimension describes whether culture or nation appreciates more individual well being or whether it focuses on group benefit. Hofstede s study indicated that Brazil is more collectivistic society rather than individualistic. This can also be seen it every day life of Brazilians. They do appreciate socializing and small talk. It is considerer rude if one gets straight to the point and does not spend a few moments chatting and getting to know each other.
7.3. Uncertainty avoidance
Uncertainty avoidance measures the extent of appreciation of laws and regulations in the culture. High uncertainty avoidance means that society has strict rules of how to behave in different situations. Brazil is slightly above average in uncertainty avoidance index in both of the studies. These results indicate that rules are accepted in Brazil but only to a certain extent. People do want to have some routines but on the other hand they feel that too many rules would restrict their behaviour, for example the famous Carnival.
7.4. Masculinity versus femininity
This dimension measures the values that are highly appreciated in society. In feminist cultures social relations and mental well being are top priorities, whereas in masculine societies appreciate hard values, such as career and money. Again Brazil was about average in masculinity index in Hofstede s research. This indicates that both group of values are appreciated. On one hand, social relations play big role in every Brazilian s life, but on the other hand, money is also appreciated.
8. PEST analysis of Brazil
8.1. Political and legal factors
Brazil has a long history as a Portugal colony. It gained independence in 1822 after which Brazil has gone through several stages in politics. In the 20th century Brazil was a republic until 1964. Political and economical chaos lead to a coup and a military government was to take the lead. This era lasted until 1985 when the government surrender voluntarily to a civilian one. The surrender was due to the economical crisis, hyperinflation and a huge foreign debt. However, the civilian government could not solve the problem and political instability continued. There were several elections before 1995, when the present president, Fernando Enrique Cardoon, was elected. It seems that he has brought stability to the Brazil s politics. Especially years 1998 and 1999 have proved to be quite prosperous in political sense. Government has been able to make important decisions, there have not been any major scandals, and as a result economical growth has been steady.
8.2. Economical factors
As mentioned in political and legal factors, Brazilian economy has not been stable. Corruption, hyperinflation (even 2,500% a year), huge foreign debt, fluctuation of Brazilian currency have been common issues during 80 s and 90 s. Brazilian economy is still far away from stable economy, but improvements in the two or three recent years can be seen. The Real Plan, introduced in 1995 has brought stability to the economy. It has decreased inflation rate and foreign debt. However, in January 1999, there was a shock in Brazilian economy, with real losing almost 30 % of its value. As a result, Brazilian economy is still vulnerable for major changes in prices of such products as coffee and aluminium.
8.3. Social and cultural factors
Brazil is still unequal country. Gaps between social classes are huge. S o Paulo and Rio de Janeiro have vast shantytowns, where people live in poverty. On the other hand, there is also small amount of rich people and a middle class, but the major problem is the gap between these social classes. Rich people will get all the benefits from tourism, etc. while the poor people have to work long days to get something to eat. This is one of the major problems in Brazil.
8.4. Technological factors
Brazil is a developing country. Its economy relies highly on agriculture. Products, such as coffee and fruits are the most important export goods. Fluctuation in these products prices will have a significant impact on the whole country s economy.
Another point is the division to urban and rural areas. Big cities have all the same modern technology as every city in Europe, but the other parts of the country come way behind. In rural areas it is common to use same methods that were used fifty years ago. Improvement is necessary in order to reach the same technology level as Europe, or even the level of Asia.
8.5. Impact of PEST factors to hospitality industry
In a way, Brazil is very contradictionary country. It possesses probably the most versatile nature in the whole world. Rio de Janeiro can be mentioned on the same level with such cities as Rome, Paris, London, and New York. The Carnival is known world vide. However, the PEST factors are affecting the image of the country. Even though the political and economical climate has improved, Brazil is still a long way from a developed country. Huge gaps between social classes and poor technology in the rural areas are also affecting the possibilities of doing hospitality business in Brazil.
PEST factors are, for sure, decreasing the opportunities of doing hospitality business. If Brazil would be on the same level as Europe in with these factors, it would probably be the number one tourism destination in the world. With such a natural beauty and various possibilities, tourism should be and it will be the most important industry in Brazil.
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