Biodiverse Brazil positions itself as ‘biggest opportunity’ for tourism after COVID-19 pandemic  

DUBAI, 11 November 2021 – Gilson Machado, Brazil’s Minister of Tourism, encouraged the world to travel to Brazil to discover the country’s wide-open spaces and rich biodiversity, speaking today (11 November) at Expo 2020 Dubai.

With six Brazilian continental biomes – Amazônia, Cerrado, Caatinga, Mata Atlântica, Pantanal and Pampa – the South American nation’s species richness underpins the stability of ecosystems, provides vast resources for economic use, and has important cultural significance for many people. According to Machado, the variety of life plays a vital role in promoting Brazil as a unique and diverse tourist attraction.

Gilson Machado said: “I’m very proud to be at Expo 2020 and happy to let the world know that Brazil is the biggest opportunity for tourism after the pandemic.

“Recently, I spoke with Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google, at Organización Mundial del Turismo (OMT) in Madrid, and he told me that before the pandemic only 10 per cent of tourists were searching for eco-tourism and open areas. With the second wave of the pandemic, that number changed to 54 per cent.”

Combined, the Atlantic and Amazon forests, and Cerrado savanna cover 85 per cent of Brazil’s territory and include many of the most diverse ecosystems on Earth, yet all have seen large losses in extent.

But backing up Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, Machado is quick to challenge claims that the Amazon rainforest is burning at a record rate.

“Brazil is the last frontier of preservation in the world, and despite some media from Europe thinking that the Amazon has been burned, I challenge you to come and see how extensive it is. It is home to the world’s largest river by volume, with an area of approximately seven million square kilometres.

“I challenge you to find a country with more biodiversity, more preservation and more sustainability than Brazil. If you go to Brazil to see a jaguar and don’t see it, I’ll give you your money back.”

Carlos Brito, President of the Brazilian Tourist Board (Embratur), agreed that ecotourism and nature are big trends for tourism recovery.

Carlos Brito said: “We want tourists to travel in a safe environment; this is a priority for us. Brazil has a lot to offer in this field as we have 66 per cent of our territory covered by native vegetation. We have destinations like Amazonia and other places with vast preserved areas that should be visited for a lifetime experience.”

A year-and-a-half ago, Brazil launched a campaign called “Responsible Tourism: Clean and Safe”, with the objective of reducing the impacts of the pandemic and preparing the sector for the gradual return of activities after the COVID-19 pandemic. Thanks to this, the country says it is now ready to welcome international tourists and reach pre-pandemic traffic levels, which in 2020 generated about 6.19 million jobs and was responsible for USD 71.8 billion of the Brazilian economy.

On October 31, Emirates resumed direct flights between São Paulo and Dubai. The route is operated with Airbus A380s, the largest commercial aircraft in the world.