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‘Brazil is back!’ declares Orlando airport director

In an economic wave sure to splash throughout the tourism economies of Orlando and Florida, projections and airline activity indicate that a rebounding Brazilian economy is expected to show up big at Orlando International Airport this year, officials said Tuesday.

“Brazil is back! And this resurgence from our third largest international market brings a welcomed boost to the local economy,” Phil Brown, CEO of the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority, said in a news release Tuesday.

Brown’s declaration comes after news of economic projections showing a strong rebound in Brazil this year from an economic recession, along with news of airline seat statistics indicating that Brazilian visitation is on track to shatter record numbers.

Brazil long has been the third biggest market for international tourists coming to Orlando, behind Great Britain and Canada. But Brazilians’ visitation dropped sharply in recent years because of that country’s economic woes. And the loss of many Brazilian tourists has been a weight on the rising Orlando and Florida tourism industry.

According to the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority, scheduled airline seats from Brazil to Orlando this year now number 486,000. That’s more than 30 percent above the record of 361,000 set in 2016. GOAA also cited a Reuters report forecasting that Brazil’s GDP would increase 2.3 percent in 2018, compared with 0.7 percent in 2017, citing growth in local demand, continuing improvement in household spending and increases in investments and capital expenditure.

Part of the anticipated visitation increase also is supported by, an increase in the numbers of airlines flying between Orlando and Brazil, and an increase in the number of Brazilian cities to which they will connect. GOL Airlines is coming to Orlando this year, connecting with the new Brazilian destinations of the capital Brasilia and the historic north coast city of Fortaleza. LATAM airlines also is adding service to Fortaleza this year. LATAM, Azul, and Delta already provide service between Orlando and Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, Recife, and Belo Horizonte.

“With the recent additional seats from Brazil, the projected economic impact for 2018 is nearly $1 billion, up 111% from 2013,” Brown added.

Written By

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at scott@floridapolitics.com.

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