Today I’d like to recommend an article by Alison McGowan, director of Hidden Pousadas Brazil on how Brazil can profit from lessons learnt in the run up to the London Olympics and attract more independent travellers. Head to The effect of the World Cup & Olympics on tourism for the full article.
I can only share with enthusiasm the way Alison defends the role of the independent foreign traveller. Although an estimated 70% of those foreigners travelling to Brazil do so in an independent manner, the institutions responsible for the promotion of Brazil abroad keep focusing exclusively on tourists arriving through travel agencies and package holidays. A sad mistake.
I recently wrote an article with the title O viajante independente também existe (the independend traveller does exist) for Viaje na Viagem, one of the most influential travel blogs in Brazil. In the article I outlined three fundamental steps to be followed in the direction of increasing the support for the independent traveller:
- First, there needs to be recognition of the existence of the independent traveller. Marketing strategies must reflect the reality of travellers making their way to Brazil in an independent way.
- Second, there needs to be an investment on internet tools that do respond to the needs for information of the independent traveller.
- Third, there needs to be support for those that work to help independent travellers. New Zealand, Norway, even Colombia, have strategies in place to support travel bloggers. Embratur, the body responsible for the promotion of Brazil abroad, has never extended its hand to travel bloggers (in spite of the fact that supporting bloggers would take a minute fraction of what the body spends on travel agents and print journalists). Travel blogs are one of the most important sources used by independent travellers researching a trip to Brazil.
Will we see substantial changes in the coming months and years? I would love to be surprised, as my faith on any positive outcome is non-existent.