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What Brazilian tourists want

Shawn Cumberbatch

What Brazilian tourists want

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It is no secret that Barbados has identified Brazil as a market that is crucial to plans to diversify the tourism industry.

Demonstrating how serious they were about reaching this goal, tourism officials pursued and attained direct air service from the South American giant five years ago. GOL airline started flying directly from Sao Paulo – a city inhabited by more than 11 million people – in 2010 and the service is still operating. Barbados is a five-hour plane ride away from Sao Paulo.

Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. (BTMI) chief executive officer William “Billy” Griffith highlighted Brazil’s importance in February when he and other BTMI representatives updated the media on the tourism industry’s performance last year and outlined expectations for this year.

“Arrivals from Brazil in 2014 continued to trend very positively. There were some great packages and promotions in the market during that period including the Barbados Island Inclusive and a flat fare sale.

As a result, Brazil [tourist arrivals were] up 18 per cent, or 864 additional passengers, year-on-year and this is the highest number of arrivals we have experienced since the introduction of the GOL flight five years ago,” he said.

“Several travel trade initiatives were undertaken such as fun trips to Barbados and agent training. We already see the fruits of these efforts and plan to do even more to grow this very important market.”

With Barbados intent on pursuing the Brazil tourist market, a relevant question is: what are Brazilians looking for when they travel away from home?

This issue was examined in a report titled Targeting A New Tourism Market: Is Barbados Ready For The Brazilian Market? The study – referenced 

in last week’s BARBADOS BUSINESS AUTHORITY  – was conducted by tourism researcher Cristina Jonsson, a tourism lecturer at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus, and UWI management studies graduate Nicola Harrison.

The researched examined market segmentation from a tourism perspective and highlighted the importance of taking tourist motivation into account when targeting new markets. It also looked at “the many factors that affect market segmentation, its relative importance and the way in which market segmentation affects tourist destinations”.

To get the specifics on what Brazilians were looking for in a tourism destination, Jonsson and Harrison questioned Brazilians visiting Barbados and spoke to Brazil embassy officials here. They canvassed the views of Barbados tourism operators involved in attractions, accommodation, amenities, and ancillary services. They also interviewed key public and private sector stakeholders “responsible for developing marketing strategies and the promotion of Barbados to Brazil”.




So what did they find out? All the Brazilian respondents identified shopping as the top motivator for Brazilians who travelled. Many of them are “keen spenders”, they said. The study also found that Brazilians “have a great interest in the beach when they travel” and liked spontaneity and adventure including water sports, parties and nightlife. They are “night people, who are accustomed to eating late, and enjoy parties and concerts on the beach at late hours”.

When asked about Barbados, the study said, some of the responses the Brazilians gave included comments about the “lack of activities to engage in”, “lack of amenities”, “beaches are too quiet’ there is a lack of activities on the beach and little nightlife”. There were other concerns related to accommodation, the absence of attractive shopping opportunities, food, activities for children and a view that “Brazilians would travel within Brazil before they come to Barbados”.

Portuguese is Brazil’s official language, and this was seen as another barrier.

“Based on the information collected from the study participants, it was seen that to some extent, there are language barriers existing between Barbados, tourism operators and the Brazilian tourism market,” the study found.

“It is also noteworthy to mention that although the accommodation sector is receiving Brazilian tourists, many of them do not have staff who are able to communicate to these tourists in Portuguese.

Independent translators are contracted to take care of these persons at the point of arrival and departure, but not during the actual stay at the hotel.”

However, the researchers acknowledged that the Ministry of Tourism had mentioned plans to work with the Ministry of Education “to facilitate language training for students, which is aligned with current and future source markets to be served”.

The study said this initiative “has the potential to close the gap in language communication between tourism service providers and Brazilians, which would enhance the guest experience and possibly lead to repeat visits”.

Jonsson and Harrison recommended more research “to evaluate the marketing strategies used…as a means of determining what needs to be done in terms of the advertising and promotion in Brazil, or more specifically Sao Paulo, in order to capture the attention of the Brazilian market segment”.