or Por que a Flórida atrai o brasileiro?†
(Following is a commentary posted last week on a Brazilian website that focuses on tourism and tourism-related issues. Though it is somewhat filtered in its precise meaning because we present the google-translated version—touched up just a little by our own, limited understanding of Portuguese—its message is a true celebration of what Florida means to Brazilian visitors to the USA.)
By Fábio Steinberg*
There is an almost pathological love affair of Brazilians for Florida. It is impossible to explain only by the logic of where comes so much passion ignited by everything that refers to this destination. It is no wonder that, with or without economic crisis, we are the third largest international visitor to the US state, which corresponds to 10 percent of the total. And, as it could not be, we also won the title of number two country in spending.
This blind idolatry for Florida and its main icons – Miami, Orlando, Disney and other theme parks – is reflected even in our culture. For example, it is there that our little children learn not to throw trash on the ground, and their parents to respect the traffic laws.
The same irresistible attraction also gives signs of life in the pathetic attempts to repeat the urban model so beloved in Brazil. For example, Barra da Tijuca, in Rio de Janeiro, pretends to be Miami. Or the neighborhood of Alphaville, in São Paulo, pretends to be Orlando. Of course copy never surpasses the original, and the result is a sometimes crude and flawed version, but which, in a pact of silence, everyone pretends not to see.
Meanwhile, Florida celebrates exuberant results. A Tourism Economics study commissioned by Visit Florida to assess the impact of foreigners on the state’s economy points to a growing increase in tourism-related spending, revenue, and jobs, currently its industry number one.
It is no small thing. Visitors—84 percent of them at leisure—spent $ 108.8 billion in 2015, giving an average of $ 300 million a day. Of the estimated 85 million visitors who landed during 2016—more than 14 times than the whole of Brazil – 24 percent of them were international. They were led by a trio of 4 million Canadians, followed by 1.7 million Englishmen and 1.5 million Brazilians. Together with the other countries, they left $ 25.7 billion in the local coffers.
Domestic visitors stayed on average four days. Already the international ones extended for 11 days. Hors concours, sure to escape the cold polar bear worthy, the Canadians were way off the curve, settling in the area on average for 23 days.
The consumption of all visitors brought direct revenues not only hotels (28.3 percent), but also food (20.4 percent), commerce (14.5 percent), entertainment (14.3 percent), land transportation (12.4 percent) and Aviation (10.2 percent).
There was also the indirect and induced financial impact of these expenditures on other sectors of the state economy. Thus, results almost doubled to $ 183 billion, taking into account areas such as finance, education, agriculture, fishing, fuel, health, wholesale, construction, services, manufacturing, communication, among others.
As for taxes, tourism in Florida contributed $44.4 billion. To give you an idea, if it were not for this, each resident would have to pay $1,500 to maintain the same level of government services.
And the jobs? There were 1.4 million people in all sectors, which generated an income of 50.7 billion dollars. Put another way: every 76 visitors allowed to generate a hiring for tourism.
“The tourism industry is driving the growth of our economy,” commented with a smile from ear to ear Ken Lawson, president of Visit Florida. It is the organization that promotes tourism to the state, which serves more than 11,000 companies associated with tourism. He just needed to thank the Brazilians for their expressive contribution to the excellent results.
† From diarioduturismo.com.br—you can access the original article at: http://diariodoturismo.com.br/florida-atrai-o-brasileiro/
* Fábio Steinberg is a journalist and founder of the Viagens e Negócios website. This commentary was posted on Feb. 12, 2017