Colourful Brazil, famed for is Copacabana and Ipanema beaches and many other stunning tourist attractions, has emerged as the top choice of travellers if they were planning a holiday in South America, a new survey shows.
The enormous country that takes up around half the continent's space received massive global publicity in 2016 when the Olympic Games were staged in the popular coastal city of Rio de Janeiro — known for its landmark and towering Christ the Redeemer statue.
Since then the vast land of over 207 million people has been enjoying record numbers of tourist arrivals, and last year saw more than 6.5 million people landing in the country — a new record. Officials at the Tourism Ministry pointed to generally lower prices in Brazil compared to other South American destinations, including Argentina, and the availability of a new e-visa system that slashes processing time from months to days. The e-visa is currently only available for citizens of Australia, Canada, Japan and the United States, however.
The new survey, commissioned by travel firm South America Odyssey and carried out by Google Surveys in late April, revealed that 34.3% of respondents would choose Brazil for a South American holiday. Central American nation Costa Rica was the second choice among those who took part, with 26.9% opting for the lush country of white-sand beaches and wild-jungle interiors.
Peru — well known for its famous Machu Picchu ruins of the lost Inca civilisation — was the next South American destination choice among respondents (17.5%). That was followed by steak-and-wine favourite Argentina (11.4%) and Chile (9.8%), home to the extensive Atacama Desert, the world’s driest and popular for unforgettable trekking and driving tours.
Respondents were also asked about their main reasons for visiting a Central or South American country. The majority (51%) said it would be a combination of beautiful beaches, wild jungles to trek in, the chance to see amazing animals like monkeys and iguanas and to experience colourful local cultures.
Sights to See
As for famous landmarks in South America, most respondents (32.4%) said they would like to see Machu Picchu, followed by the Galapagos Islands (21.5%) that are part of Ecuador and whose primordial creatures such as the marine iguana provided inspiration for Charles Darwin's revolutionary Theory of Evolution. Others said they would like to see parts of the Amazon River (21.2%), the world's longest natural waterway that flows through many countries on the continent, while 15.6% said they would love to view the thundering Iguazu Falls on the border between Argentina and Brazil. Just 9.3% said they wanted to see Venezuela's Angel Falls, at 979 metres the world’s highest uninterrupted waterfall.
Central and South American countries are popular places to volunteer for a range of activities, and the South America Odyssey survey revealed that if respondents were to undertake such an activity in the region, the majority (29.2%) would opt for rainforest protection programmes. Other choices were turtle conservation (which 23.3% of respondents opted for), helping indigenous communities (14.8%), archaeology (14.4%) and teaching (18.4%).
When planning a holiday in a South or Central American country, most people (29.1%) said they would require a travel firm to arrange everything that was highly experienced in the destination country. Others (24.4%) would look for a travel company that provided a selection of top-quality accommodation while some (23.5%) would base their decision on prices. Other respondents (15.4%) would want unique and tailor-made itineraries when planning to holiday in a Central or South American nation, and 7.6% would look for ease of contact with their travel firm in case of emergencies.
Marc Harris, Managing Director
Company: South America Odyssey
Address: 5 The Mews, 6 Putney Common, London, SW15 1HL, UK
Phone: +44 (0) 20 8704 1216