Interview with Marcelo Freixo: learn about the actions, planning and innovations developed by the president of Embratur

Marcelo Freixo, current president of Embratur, the Brazilian Agency for the International Promotion of Tourism, is a Brazilian politician and professor, with a background in history and literature

(Source: Mary de Aquino.)

In this interview he explains his strategic planning in promoting Brazil abroad. His work has been highly praised in the tourism sector, as today (6), in an interview with the subscription channel Globo News, Chieko Aoki, founder and president of the Blue Tree hotel chain, praised the work that has been developed by Freixo.

 The president of Embratur works closely with his team, including Jaqueline Gil, director of marketing, business and sustainability, with 20 years of experience in tourism. The agency continues to invest in what Brazil sells most abroad, beach and sun tourism. 

Gil creates campaign briefings with information intelligence and other secondary information, but he believes that the tourism economy is very strong and that I need to explore other tourism potential within the country, which is why he has invested in tourists' length of stay, diversity of destinations and digital nomad.

Philipe Karat is the aeronautical engineer and transport coordinator at Embratur, and has been working on campaigns that support flights from Argentina directly to the Brazilian northeast, in a rapprochement with the USA and Europe, expanding destinations. And he extends the relationship with tour operators to reach National Parks, as some are difficult to access.

Freixo has expanded relationships in various fields, closed many partnerships, explored market trends, responsible and conscious tourism. He explains in the interview about the tourist database, check it out below:

After assuming the presidency of Embratur, you changed your perspective from that of a tourist to that of a manager of Brazilian tourism in the international market, how does this work in practice?

-I think this is a great and good reflection that you make, the political head is a head that looks at tourism as someone who travels and I think we need to take this leap, which I particularly took when I went into management , which is to look at tourism as a work chain, as a generation of jobs and income, and as a strategic sector for the economy.

Tourism is currently 8% of Brazilian GDP and has the possibility of being much more, and represents 18% of Portuguese GDP. Tourism already represents a higher percentage in some Brazilian cities. I think that when we take tourism and put it in a strategic place it is very decisive.

Embratur is present at the main tourism business fairs in the world (today at WTM London), Brazil in turn is a destination that foreign countries have invested in being present at. Is there the possibility of an exchange of tourist promotions between friendly nations, such as Argentina and Portugal for example?

-Yes, we held a meeting at ABAV Expo with INPROTUR, which is Argentina's Embratur, it is exactly that, the possibility of a combined and common promotion, because both Argentina receives many Brazilians, and Brazil receives many Argentines.

The possibility of common promotion exists, this has begun to be designed between these agencies. And I think that, in fact, the more partnerships we form with local institutions, the better for us.

Portugal, we already have a very strong partnership, we have an agreement with Portugal regarding good practices, we signed it together with President Lula on the way in March, today we have an agreement on the issue of innovation with Turismo de Portugal. So, we have already been doing this and in some places it is even more advanced.

How are expectations for international flights?

-Expectations are the best possible, we currently have 208 flights in Argentina, from January there will be 283. 

TAP signed with us in Rio de Janeiro, at the ABAV Expo, they will increase it to 11 weekly flights, Aerolíneas Argentina, the same thing, we made an agreement with Copa Airlines. So we have to work from a very broad perspective, there has already been a significant increase this year.

As has been the experience with National Parks, according to the National System of Conservation Units (SNUC), today there are 334 units, in 27 Brazilian states, which represents 9% of the national terrestrial territory and 2% of the coastal marine biome. Many of them are open to visitors, and are very popular among foreigners. How can ecotourism and nature tourism be maintained in places where there is an extreme need for preservation?

-The experience we are having with the parks is very positive, we can highlight the parks of Iguaçu, Tijuca, Jericoacoara, Lençóis Maranhenses, Serra da Capivara, among others. And we have even been signing many agreements, it is what we want most, because you make it professional, because you bring the sustainability debate to the central axis of this promotion.

Brazil has a lot of diversity, the state, tourism is the place where private initiative and public initiative necessarily go together, where there is little possibility of conflict between public interest and private interest, because management is always shared management.

Even though there is a Ministry of Tourism, tourism is interministerial and interdisciplinary, because tourism travels through several places. So, there is a great partnership, for example, on this topic with Marina Silva (Minister of Environment and Climate Change in Brazil), we have already held a working meeting, the teams work together, so I think this is a place that we are going to advance a lot.

How does the tourist database work in Brazil?

-It's a specific action with data intelligence, if I'm not mistaken, I believe this is the first time that Embratur has a tourist database. We brought in a professional in the field, Mariana Aldrich, a professor at USP, two months old that we launched the Embratur Panel (in partnership with ANAC, Central Bank and Federal Police), which is a panel that is available and the idea is that it can be an instrument to be used in both public and private management. Permanent 24-hour data is given, with the number of flights, with the profitability of tourism in Brazil, and the numbers are very positive, August was the best result in the last 25 years, it is on the panel, this has already been confirmed.

In addition to showing the flights, where the tourist comes from and how they travel within Brazil, the Embratur Panel will be improved every moment, with immediate production of information.

Who is this tourist? Which nationalities enter Brazil the most?

-Argentina is number one, 1.4 thousand Argentines by August, we will reach 2 million by the end of 2023, followed by the United States, Paraguay, Chile and Uruguay.

The campaign we launched two months ago in the USA was very successful, they are specific markets, for the North American interest, for example, the debate on afrotourism, which today is a central banner for Embratur and is very much in line with the interests of the North American market.

How do you understand the growing luxury tourism industry in Brazil?

-This is the market that is well-organized and diversified in Brazil. And it is extremely important, and Embratur will be present at ILTM Cannes, in December in France.

We have a very specific perspective, and Brazil is the Brazil of diversity!

In Brazil you can have digital nomad or you can have luxury tourism, there are people from all over the world arriving and luxury tourism is a niche that is of great interest for the average ticket, and due to the diversity of the country, there are attractions that meet this demand.

Report and photo: Mary de Aquino.

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