Brazilian carnival celebrations reflect the return of tourism

Brazilian carnival celebrations reflect the return of tourism

Brian Major

by Brian Major
Last updated: 1:25 PM ET, Sun Feb 11, 2024

This year, Brazil’s Carnival celebrations are expected to welcome 200,000 international tourists, who are expected to contribute $200 million in revenue to the South American nation, officials at Embratur, Brazil’s state tourism board, said.

The annual festival resumed last year after a two-year pandemic shutdown. Embratur and Rio de Janeiro officials have signed a partnership with the United Nations World Tourism Agency (UNWTO) to create a “Tourism Sustainability Index” to measure “the impacts of Rio’s Carnival on the city’s production chain during a year”. officials said.

The sustainability index is based on the UNWTO guidelines for Monitoring Tourism Sustainability and will “serve as a future reference for other tourist cities in Brazil,” officials said, to “contribute to Embratur in generating intelligence.”

In 2023, Brazil surpassed its pre-pandemic arrivals, with approximately six million international visitors, a three percent increase over the 2019 total and a 62.7 percent increase over the 3.6 million visitors expected in 2022.

“[Brazil has] overcome the difficult period of the Covid pandemic, – said Marcelo Freixo, the president of Embratur, – and are entering a time of dialogue, the reaffirmation of democracy [and] investment.”

Brazil’s Carnival traditionally lasts five days, although some events are held for an entire week in cities ranging from Rio de Janeiro to Salvador de Bahia.

Parades, street parties and a series of organized festivities kicked off this year on February 9 and will end on February 13, the day before Ash Wednesday.

Added Freixo, “Brazil is ready, with open arms to welcome everyone.”

Rio de Janeiro’s international airport hosted a truly Brazilian celebration to commemorate what was called #TurismoQueTransforma (#turismthatchanges), marking the country’s moment on the global stage: in 2023, foreign visitors left $6.9 billion in the Brazilian economy. This amount surpasses 2014 when during the World Cup in Brazil the currency inflow was 6.8 billion dollars and is the highest since 1995.

According to EMBRATUR (Visit Brasil), the Carnival of Brazil 2024 should welcome around 200,000 international tourists and these visitors are expected to leave nearly $200 million in revenue. To celebrate the result, a flight from Kilian SKY Airline was chosen for a special reception, with lots of music, food and dancing.

And there is more to celebrate. In 2023, Brazil also recovered pre-pandemic rates in tourist arrivals with around 6 million foreign visitors. The number was 3% above that estimated by the UNWTO and is also 62.7% higher than 2022 (3.6 million).

On this occasion, EMBRATUR and the city of Rio de Janeiro also signed an important partnership based on the UNWTO guidelines for Monitoring the Sustainability of Tourism, in order to create the “Index of Tourism Sustainability in Rio de Janeiro”. The work will serve as a reference in the future for other touristic cities in Brazil, which will contribute to EMBRATUR in generating intelligence. Among the examples of studies, it will be possible to measure the impacts of the Rio Carnival on the city’s production chain over the course of a year.

Another technical cooperation agreement was signed with Chilean SKY Airline, for sharing data and working together on actions to expand the connection between Brazil and South America, with the launch of new lines and an increase in the frequency of existing ones.

“President Lula, at the beginning of 2023, said something that we use to talk about Brazil. He said that Brazil is back. The Brazil of democracy, sustainability, climate responsibility, culture, appreciation of artists. And in 2024, he said that Brazil is rising. We should all celebrate. We have overcome the difficult period of the COVID pandemic, of the lack of dialogue, of a radicalization that leads us nowhere and we are entering a time of dialogue, the reaffirmation of democracy, of investment, and Brazil is ready, with open arms to welcome everyone”, said Marcelo Freixo, president of EMBRATUR (Visit Brasil).

Salvador Carnival

Salvador is the capital of Bahia, located in northeastern Brazil, whose population numbers about 14.9 million, making it the country’s fourth most populous state.

Salvador is considered the city with the largest black population outside of Africa and has historical significance as the original capital of Brazil, from 1549 to 1763.

Culturally, Bahia is a melting pot of indigenous, European and especially African influences, which are evident in the state’s cuisine, dance, festivals, music and spiritual practices.

Salvador’s Carnival is a major tourist attraction and is one of the state’s most prominent festivals. The event has been recognized by Guinness World Records as the largest street carnival in the world, spanning seven counties and twelve neighborhoods.

Salvador’s Carnival features musical acts, festive parades and spaces dedicated to dance, electronic tunes and even a rock music stage. The joyous week-long occasion is a cherished time of fun and togetherness.


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