Brazilian tourism has a series of productive activities representing 7% of Brazil’s GDP (Gross Domestic Product). It also generates 5.5 million jobs and foreign currency revenues of US$ 5.8 billion, promoting important impacts due to the immersion of more than 52 sectors in its economy (MTur/Embratur, 2008). Considering economic, human, technological and cultural factors, tourism covers a world financial volume over US$ 7 trillion, with an average rise of 4% a year and a flux of 880 million travels (WTTC, OMT, 2009). Studies predict a flow of 1.3 billion international tourists in 2020.
Restricting the analysis to São Paulo, the state with a population surpassing 41.6 million people, and which holds 31% of the national GDP, it has emerged as one of the most visited Brazilian states. In 2009, the state attracted a demand of 1.842.796 foreign visitors, and was responsible for receiving 42.430.912 domestic tourists in 2007.
With these flows, tourism accounts for more than 1.7 million jobs and a total tourism revenue of R$ 25.4 billion, with spendings in lodging, food, shopping and leisure.
The state has more than 5.000 lodging facilities distributed among 645 municipalities, among 67 of them are considered tourist resorts and 300 with tourism potential. The state has more than 40 established tourist routes and, among the 10 most visited tourist cities, five are in the state: São Paulo capital, Praia Grande, Ubatuba, Caraguatatuba and Santos.
The favorable performance is also seen in the airline industry particularly in the 35 companies that operate direct flights between São Paulo and international destinations. They increased over 30% their regular frequencies since 2006.
The state's natural vocation is tourism business in its various possibilities (congresses, conventions, seminars, trade fairs, travel representation, shopping, and others) not only in the capital, but in several municipalities such as Campinas, Ribeirão Preto and São José do Rio Preto. About 80% of the major events that happen in Brazil occur in the State of São Paulo.
Various cultural and sports events also attract millions of tourists to the state such as Grand Prix Brazil Formula One, the Barretos Rodeo, the Winter Festival of Campos do Jordão and the Flowers and Strawberries Fest in Atibaia.
The sun and beach tourism is important in attracting tourist flows since from the five most visited tourist cities mentioned above four are beach destinations. It is interesting to note that the sun and beach tourism is not confined to the coast of the state; along the Tietê-Paraná waterway, hundreds of inland lakes and beaches attract millions of tourists for sun and beach, and also fishing.
Adventure tourism grows in dozens of counties. Two of the hottest destinations in Brazil are located in the State of São Paulo – Brotas e Socorro. The religious tourism segment is another strong attraction for tourists in cities like Aparecida, Guaratinguetá and Cruzeiro – to name a few.
In other cities, tourism has its main basis on the interest of visitors for historical heritage sites, such as Cunha, São Luís do Paraitinga, Iguape and Cananeia.
Health tourism, besides having its dozens of spas, climatic and thermal resorts, has medical centers of excellence, not only in the capital but also in cities like Campinas, São Jose do Rio Preto, Ribeirão Preto, Barretos, among others. The state also has dozens of world-renowned spas.
For this grandiosity and diversity of options in different areas, the State of São Paulo has been promoting strategies and implementing actions that aim to facilitate its development, wealth, create jobs, stimulate income, promote culture and provide benefits to its population, tourists and the entire chain of goods, services and talents integrated to it.
Uniting its genuine vocation for tourism business to leisure facilities, services and culture is a natural way to the State of São Paulo.
Key figures of the State of São Paulo:
Source: Ministério do Turismo/Embratur/Infraero/Secretaria de Turismo do Estado de São Paulo