Interview with Alexandre Sampaio

Director de la Confederación Nacional de Comercio de Bienes, Servicios y Turismo

Alexandre Sampaio

Director of the National Confederation of Trade in Goods, Services and Tourism (CNC), head of the Tourism and Hospitality Business Council, and President of the National Federation of Hotels, Restaurants, Bars and Similar Establishments (FNHRBS)

Alexandre Sampaio is one of Brazil's most important businessmen, not only for the positions of responsibility he holds, but also for his vision of the Brazilian tourism industry.

Mr. Sampaio has been a tourism entrepreneur in Rio de Janeiro for more than 40 years, particularly in the hotel industry, and is currently a member of the National Tourism Council of the Ministry of Tourism.

He is also Coordinator of the Brazilian Tourism Committee (CB54), the planning, coordination and control body for tourism-related standards of the Brazilian Association of Technical Standards (ABNT).

With a background in Accounting, Sampaio was president of the Rio de Janeiro Bars and Restaurants Union (SindRio) between 2002 and 2010, when he assumed the presidency of the FNHRBS.

Was there any challenge or difficulty in bringing together the 30 entities in the sector in a joint project? How has this partnership work been?

The main associations and tourism entities are part of the Tourism and Hospitality Business Council (Cetur) of the National Confederation of Trade in Goods, Services and Tourism (CNC), and we have already worked in a united way at important moments for the sector, such as the creation of the General Tourism Law, which we are seeking to modernize. This is the Cetur/CNC’s purpose, to strengthen the Tourism demands and to promote the union of entrepreneurs, trade unions and associative entities and to act in the fostering and formulation of proposals by the national tourism organization.

VAI Turismo Project ( ) begun, in the 26 states and in the Federal District in Brazil, with a broad and participatory consultation that brought together about 300 institutions to discuss the priorities and demands of the sector. From these state groups, the rapporteur ship and systematization of the themes of each state was carried out, the common topics became regional demands, and the regional priorities were consolidated in the national agenda.

The national themes were discussed and validated by the national entities of the various segments of the tourism supply chain, which were and are being fundamental for the development and implementation of the Vai Turismo.

Aware that the campaign aims to insert the tourism agenda among the government’demands, what are the main challenges to achieve these objectives and the biggest bottlenecks in the sector?

The tourism sector was severely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, with more than R$500 billion in revenue losses since March 2020, with the closure of establishments. In this sense, meeting priority agendas is essential to move and reactivate the production chain. The sector needs incentives, legal certainty and unbureaucratic microcredit and credit lines to attract and retain investors, differentiated tax rate, income tax on remittance stoneware abroad (the non-reduction impacts the economy and affects the competitiveness of thousands of Brazilian agencies and tour operators), programs to expand tourist demand and commercialize Brazilian destinations, regulation of games and approval of the modernization of the General Tourism Law.

Based on the pillars of integrated proposals, connected institutions, public policies, sustainable development and national tourist destinations as a target, how the Vai Turismo Movement sees its impact on the development of the tourism industry and society?

The document elaboration generated a unique agenda, built in a participatory way by the main players of national tourism and it was composed of priority demands to increase the competitiveness and sustainability of tourism. The Movement encourages continuous debate, converges actions and contributes to practical and applicable solutions, always looking to the future. What we present objectively is that it is no longer appropriate to talk about tourism as a potential activity. It is a reality, and the route is signaled with the delivery, in the hands of the document Proposals and recommendations of public tourism policies for the candidates for the Presidency of the Republic and state governments. Now it is up to the elected representatives to take advantage of the mobilization and the support of so many institutions to make a commitment in their government plans and implement the actions.

The document also addresses a working structure with fundamentals of Intelligent Tourist Destination. Why work with DTIs and how does this classification combines sustainable practices with destination success?

Intelligent Tourist Destination methology is a model that follows a global trend, that contributes to differentiate each destination from the Other competitors, in favour of the positioning improvement in the national and international turism sphere. DTIs are aligned with the "new" tourism and, especially, with the demands of post-pandemic travelers, for safe, differentiated and more sustainable travel, facilitated by digitization. What we see is that the methodology helps destinations to be more competitive, innovative, ensuring sustainable practices - which generate protection of the economic activity of tourism, environmental respect, preservation and appreciation of the sociocultural aspect - and to understand accessibility as a tool to practice inclusion.

The technology use has become one of the pillars in stimulating the creation of a collect, analysis and sharing data mechanism at federal levels, besides the social network use on hashtag disseminating that gives the name to the movement. How the technology and social network use can help to the tourism development in Brazil and what is needed to improve?

Technology and social networks bring the opportunity to develop tourist businesses and social media users, by accessing the shared travel experiences of friends or acquaintances, discover possibilities for activities, services or equipment that are available in destinations, as well as discover new destinations.

Regarding to the improvements, it’s needed: to implement actions towards internet expansion, with quality of service and economics, expansion of wi-fi and cellular networks and stimulate the development of new technologies with incentive to scientific and technological production.

The Vai Turismo movement also identified that we need reliable and constantly updated information, which we call Brazilian tourism intelligence platform. For this purpose, we need to unite the information and data on tourism that are produced by different sources and ensure a safe and timeless governance of this platform, which is not compromised by the changes of governments.

The project was designed to cover the next term of the executive branch, from 2023 to 2026. However, what is the vision forward? Is this an initiative that can be replicated, with long-term improvements?

In order the proposals had the sustainable character in the desirable time, the recommendations for the 2023-2026 mandates needed to have long-term strategies as a backdrop. The Vai Turismo not only sought to connect the most urgent needs, but also sought to align state strategies with regional and national ones. The project contemplated the combination of immediate demands, with important aspects of long-term development.

In sense of urban mobility and infrastructure, what do entities report as a need for improvement and what are the challenges?

In the national macrostrategies we report the alignment of programs between government entities, when considering the development of sustainable tourist destinations that require investment in several areas: basic infrastructure of destinations, including airport structure, port, road, telephony, basic sanitation, energy, health and safety. As for urban mobility: expansion of the aerial mesh, improvement of road transport, investment in paving, signaling and river and maritime port structures. A challenge is to ensure the convergence of government investments, with ministries and federal agencies acting in a coordinated manner for these improvements pointed out.

The request for government support to obtain credit and investment lines was also addressed. How does the Vai Turismo Movement justify the government's interest in assisting Tourism in this area? What are the obstacles and why is this still a question with little support?

The sector needs unbureaucratic microcredit and credit lines that meet the characteristics of the segment. Services, especially tourism, is the sector that generates the most jobs, it is important for governments to expand employability in the country, and for this it is necessary to understand the particularities of these activities. The tourism production chain meets a volatile demand, dependent on exchange rate fluctuations and the internal and external economic cycle, and is composed, to a large extent, of smaller enterprises and, in general, of reduced capacity to offer guarantees. In this way, potential claimants of the credit lines encounter virtually insurmountable barriers when subjected to credit risk analyses of financial institutions authorised to grant such financing. Some measures are under review by the government, with regard to credit lending standards and the effectiveness of the effects of the Event Sector Resumption Program (PERSE).

Dear Mr. Sampaio, with great joy, and on behalf of all the members of the Tourism and Society Think Tank, we would like to thank you for your important words, and for bringing us closer to the present and future of tourism in a great country such as Brazil.

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The authors are responsible for the choice and presentation of the facts contained in this document and for the opinions expressed therein, which are not necessarily those of Tourism and Society Think Tank and do not commit the Organization, and should not be attributed to TSTT or its members.

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