Friday, 18 July 2014

Brazil and tourism during the 2014 World Cup

Victor Matheson at the Sports Economist blog writes,
According to a statement by Aloisio Mercadante, Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff’s chief of staff, “We lost the trophy, but Brazil won the World Cup. He said that according to figures released this week by Brazil’s federal government, the World Cup was a triumph for the country’s transportation and tourism industries.

As reported by CNN, “according to government figures, 1 million foreign tourists visited Brazil during the month-long event, far exceeding its pre-Cup projection of 600,000 visitors coming to the country from abroad. About 3 million Brazilians traveled around the country during the event, just short of the expected 3.1 million.”
The devil here is in the details and whether when we get to see the details the numbers quoted hold up. One would be surprised if they did since as Matheson goes on to say,
If this is true, this would be unprecedented increase in tourism due to a mega-event. Brazil only welcomed 342,000 foreign visitors in total in June of 2012, so an increase up to 1,000,000 would be huge if the data holds up. By comparison, South Africa experienced about a 200,000 increase in international visitors during the 2010 World Cup, Germany experienced an increase of 700,000 overnight stays in 2006, and no effects on tourism could be identified for France in 2008. For the Summer Olympics in Beijing and London, overall travel to Beijing and the UK actually fell during the month of the games compared to the previous year.
Matheson also notes that while Brazilian government has been quick to announce their news, they have been much less forthcoming with the actual source data. I wonder why. Matheson then points out that the annual tourism data for Brazil is only available in a form that allows decent comparisons to past periods up to 2012 and so far the World Cup data is only available in limited press releases. Time will tell if the government's enthusiasm will last. But I'm not betting on it.

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