Brazil remains a core market for South Africa, despite arrivals showing a decline.

Speaking to Tourism Update at the ABAV tradeshow in São Paulo, Monika Iuel, South African Tourism General Manager: International Marketing, said SA Tourism determined its core markets, which include Brazil, based on long-term potential, not because of a short-term benefit. “Whilst there has been a downturn coming out of Brazil, or Latin America in its entirety, it is not deterring us at all because it is not a measure of the potential that we see.”

Iuel said further that Brazil had a population of 200 million and the country’s economy would, over an extended period of time, uplift the middle class, enabling them to travel. “We want to be here and already be in the hearts and minds of the Brazilians when that happens,” she said.

Iuel stressed that it was important that the SA trade understood the benefits of marketing themselves to Brazil. “We need the support of the trade, both in Brazil and in South Africa, to be able to continue to grow,” she said. “Without our partners back home and our partners here in Brazil, our efforts won’t be half as successful.”

SA Deputy Minister of Tourism, Thokozile Xasa, told Tourism Update that Brazil was a core market and that SA had opened an office in the country last year. “For us, Latin America is one very important market,” she said. “The potential is so big.” According to the Deputy Minister, SA understood the present economic volatility in Brazil, which it viewed as short-term.

Xasa said it was critical for the country to create more awareness about destination South Africa in the market, both through its office in Brazil and its participation in trade expos. She added that this would yield results when the country was in a better place economically.

According to Iuel, SA Tourism had not yet confirmed its attendance at ABAV next year. However, she said it was a rich platform and added that, having small businesses exhibit on the stand as part of the Department of Tourism’s tourism incentive programme (TIP) was a great opportunity to show the Brazilian trade more of what SA had to offer.

Tourism Update attended the ABAV tradeshow in São Paulo as a guest of South African Tourism.