Last year, Brazil welcomed 6,588,770 overseas tourists, the largest number of international visitors ever, according to the country's Ministry of Tourism. The number of visitors exceeded both 2016, when Rio hosted the Olympic Games, and 2014, when the FIFA World Cup was held. That year, 6,429,852 tourists visited Brazil. The increase in tourists was largely due to more visitors arriving from other South American countries, who together represented 62% of the total number of international visitors in 2017.
The Ministry of Tourism's figures showed an 11% increase in South American tourists, increasing from 3.7 million recorded in 2016 to 4.1 million last year. Most of the South American visitors came from Argentina, who represented nearly 40% of the total number of international visitors. Some 2.6 million Argentine tourists visited Brazil in 2017, 14% more than in 2016.
The second largest number of foreign visitors came from the US last year. Around 475,200 US tourists arrived in Brazil to enjoy the country's many attractions.
The number of visitors from Chile increased by 5% compared to 2016, totalling 342,100 in 2017.
São Paulo rather than Rio de Janeiro was the most visited city. São Paulo is the country's commerical capital. Some 2,144,606 visited the city in 2017. The city concentrated its marketing efforts on business travellers, encouraging them to stay longer to explore the city's amenities and tourists attractions.
Rio de Janeiro was the second most visited city with 1,355,616 vistors in 2017, representing around 21% of all international tourists. Rio Grande do Sul was the third most visited city with 1.27 million visitors in 2017; most of these travellers were from Argentina.
The country's Minister of Tourism, Marx Beltrão, said that the increase in visitor numbers showed that the money the Ministry had spent on promoting Brazil to international tourists was money well spent. For example, Brazil introduced a new e-visa scheme for Canadian, US and Japanese tourists last year to make the process of visa applications easier.
The country's success in attracting international tourists last year has incouraged the Ministry to make even greater efforts to promote the country as a global holiday destination. For investors in real estate there are interesting opportunities opening up in many coastal resorts, such as Fortaleza for example.
For the lastest travel advice, UK travellers should visit https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/brazil.