São Paulo, Brazil's largest city and the main economic hub in the country, received 11 million tourists last year. The figure - 2.8% higher than recorded in 2007 - is an annual record high, according to figures disclosed Monday, January 5, by São Paulo Turismo (SPTuris), a company that promotes tourism in the city.
According to the company, São Paulo received 9.3 million Brazilian tourists and 1.7 million foreigners last year. Visitors spent 8.3 billion Brazilian reais (US$ 3.5 billion) in the municipality, 2.47% more than in 2007.
A survey conducted by the SPTuris and the Economic Research Institute Foundation (Fipe) shows that, among foreigners, those that visited the capital of the state São Paulo the most were the Americans, followed by the Argentineans, Germans, French, Chileans, Portuguese, Italians, Spanish, English and Mexicans.
The main reasons for foreigners' visits, according to the survey, were business (57.2%), followed by visits to relatives and friends (20.7%) and leisure (13.6%). Average spending per tourist in the city was 1,172.07 reais (US$ 503), and the means of transport most used in order to arrive at the municipality was the airplane (77.4%). Most of the foreigners who visited São Paulo in 2008 were men (77.4%).
With regard to Brazilian tourists, 54.9% were women and most came from the interior of the state or coast, followed by Minas Gerais, Rio de Janeiro, Santa Catarina, Paraná, Rio Grande do Sul, Bahia, Pernambuco, Espírito Santo and Mato Grosso do Sul.
National visitors (41.7%) mainly used buses to come to the city, followed by aircraft (23.3%) and their own cars (22.2%). The main reasons for trips were visits to relatives and friends, followed by business, purchases and cultural tourism. The average expenses were 951.30 reais (US$ 408) per person and the month in which the greatest number of tourists came was December.
In the hotel sector, the average occupation was 68.5% last year, as against 67% in 2007. The daily average expenses in hotel fees were 159.45 reais (US$ 68).