Why did American Airlines add Manaus, Brazil to their network last year, making it the country with the most AA routes after the US and Mexico? It’s part of American’s long-term growth strategy in Brazil, and comes after adding service frequency in some Brazilian markets, and adding non-stops from New York and Dallas/Fort Worth – both to Rio de Janeiro.
So the question may not actually be, “why add Manaus,” but rather, “why such a big focus on Brazil in the first place?”
The State of the Brazilian Economy
Let’s start with the fact that Brazil is home to more than 200 million people, giving it the largest population in Latin America. Economically speaking, Brazil has the sixth-largest economy in the world with more Global 500 companies than all Latin American countries combined (including Mexico). Specifically, the combined revenue of the Brazilian Global 500 is almost US$500 billion.
Of course, American Airlines is far from the only travel company expanding in Brazil. “It’s a crucial time to venture to the BRICS countries such as Brazil and Russia, as these cultures are rapidly changing due to the speed of globalization, economic growth and world-scale recognition,” observed Thor Forsberg, Destination Manager, Europe. “Each of these countries has their own special rhythm, from the contemporary design culture in Sao Paulo to the dynamic art scene in Moscow.” (Top Travel Trends for 2013, TravelAge West, October 2012)
The State of Social in Brazil
That’s the economic status. Now let’s take a brief look at the online picture. Last month, The Wall, a UK-based digital and social media blog, published a post called, Brazil is revealed as the Social Media Capital of the world, with many juicy stats, including:
There are many more great nuggets of information in The Wall’s post, and I highly recommend you read the whole thing.
And of course, Mobile
In 2011, there were more people in Brazil accessing the internet via mobile devices than via desktops or laptops. Mobile is huge in Brazil because it’s more reliable and accessible than broadband in the homes (which won’t reach 50% of households until after 2016).
To learn more about the state of technology and internet usage in Brazil, take a look at eMarketer’s report, To Expand Online Access, Brazil Goes Mobile (eMarketer, October 2012).
Put It All Together, and What Do You Get?
Okay, that’s a lot of statistics and trends. But when you put it all together, I think what we see is a fantastic opportunity for travel and hospitality companies to serve Brazilian visitors with relevant information via social media, and to give them a top-notch mobile experience. And don’t wait – I’m pretty sure things will continue going in this direction for a while.
Thank you to Emerson Barroca in the Lionbridge São Paulo office for his contributions to this article!