International tourism is back and helping to preserve the Brazilian Pantanal

October 7, 2022


After two years of suspended international tourism, REMOTE member Pure Brasil is approaching the end of a special season in the Pantanal, its flagship destination. According to Douglas Simões, part-owner of Pure Brasil, the company is celebrating a 70% increase in the volume of travelers compared to 2019, the best year in the DMC’s history up until then: “We had to reorganize. But we’re grateful for this meaningful resumption of tourism where people are looking for closer contact with nature.”

We spoke with Douglas to learn more about the positive impacts of responsible tourism in the Pantanal and how the activity is resuming among international travelers.

REMOTE : What was this season like for Pure Brasil, with the resumption of international travel to the Pantanal?

Douglas Simões: In the year 2019, we had our best travel season in the Pantanal. We were looking forward to the new year when we suddenly got hit by the pandemic. In 2020, international tourism stopped completely, and we didn’t receive any travelers. The following year, we were able to “breathe again,” but still with very few trips. Finally, in 2022 we’re thrilled to celebrate a 70% increase in the volume of travelers compared to 2019. It has been a really special year with new customers and new products, too. The Pantanal has always been our flagship and it’s motivating to take people to discover one of the most enchanting places on the planet.

REMOTE : What did it feel like to be back there, in the Pantanal’s unique nature?

Douglas : Coincidence or not, 2022 was the best season in history for wildlife observation in the Pantanal. There was significant breeding and births and we noticed an increase in the population of jaguars, ocelots, tapirs and other species. It’s too early for us to say that these species are no longer at risk, but it’s rewarding to see that tourism is contributing to the preservation of the destination.

REMOTE: Do you believe tourism can help prevent the expansion of fires in the Pantanal? Is this already happening? 

Douglas : This year, we had far fewer fires than in the last three years. In addition to the higher rainfall during the dry season, local brigades and entrepreneurs were able to work on more effective control. Tourism has the power to bring resources to the region, increasing its capacity to monitor fires, and the presence of travelers also contributes to the control of flare-ups.

REMOTE : What is the profile of the international traveler who comes to the Pantanal? What are they looking for?

Douglas : Brazil, and especially the Pantanal, has enormous potential in wildlife observation tourism, but it’s still not as well-known for this as many other countries on the African continent. Most travelers interested in the Pantanal are explorers who have been to Africa once or twice and come to Brazil looking for different species, such as jaguars, ocelots, tapirs and several species of birds. They are travelers who are truly passionate about wildlife watching.

REMOTE : After so many years of taking travelers to discover the destination, what has changed in Pure Brasil’s operations? What remains the same?

Douglas : For years, the Pantanal was sold as two distinct destinations: the North and the South. But the truth is there’s only one. Today, we’re proud to say that over 90% of our travelers visit the Pantanal as a whole, entering one way and leaving the other. Flying over the Pantanal is often an unforgettable experience, since you can see the countless lagoons that form with the ebb, as well as the rivers that cut through the region. In recent years, we have also started to offer different products throughout the region, such as an exclusive wildlife observation cruise and, more recently, a very special trip through one of the Pantanal’s most remote regions: Serra do Amolar.

Photos: Fred Crema

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