The once overheated Brazilian outbound market now a stagnant force, the country’s largest tour operator-travel agency, is backing efforts to expand and strengthen foreign language exchange programs so that Brazil’s outbound tourism business—especially that which visits the USA—does not contract. According to a recent Bloomberg News item, CVC’s founder and chairman, billionaire Guilherme Paulus Jesus, the current weakness in the nation’s economy is curtailing the ability to travel of Brazil’s middle class, which represents more than half of the nation’s population, as well as half of CVC’s clientele. Especially threatened is the company’s business to destinations such as Florida and Orlando.
Paulus is counting on his company’s consumer base to increase the numbers of student age adults who are English-speaking, explaining that “Brazilians will sacrifice everything to send their children to learn English abroad … It’s an investment.”
CVC served about 4 million travelers last year, with its outbound clients favoring the USA, Canada and the UK. In addition to a national economy that some economists have predicted will actually contract this year, Brazil’s currency, the real, has dropped 15 percent versus the U.S. dollar in the past year. According to CVC, the stronger dollar has made more Brazilians take their holidays within Brazil. Domestic trips, it said, grew in January to 70 percent of total holidays vs.60 percent a year ago.
In addition to its support of increased exchange student travel—the company disclosed no figures regarding the amount it is investing in this venture—CVC plans to open a 100 new stores a year; the total should exceed 1,000 this year. In early 2014, the company had 800-plus agency locations. CVC’s owner/largest shareholder is the Washington, D.C.-based global asset manager firm, the Carlyle Group, which was ranked last year in the Private Equity International 300 as the largest private equity firm in the world.