Assessing Economic Impacts of Visitor Spending in Protected Areas of Brazil

Thiago Beraldo
Publicado: 05 Febrero 2019
Última edición: 02 Octubre 2020
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Assessing economic impacts of tourism in protected areas (PA) provides a way for park managers of developing countries to inform stakeholders of the value of PAs in serving not just for conservation purposes, but as engines for relatively low-impact, high added-value economic growth.

An analysis of the economic impact of tourism was developed to measure visitor spending around PAs in Brazil. The study revealed the economic magnitude of an important ecosystem service provided by PAs – tourism and outdoor recreation. Visitation at PAs demonstrated to be an impactful mechanism to develop local economies and the tourism industry in Brazil as each dollar invested in management generates $7 for the economy. The initiative reinforced that economic impacts of tourism influence directly the PAs, as well as indirectly other businesses and the local communities, generating greater economic benefits for local communities that have a higher household dependency on the surrounding natural resources.



África Oriente y África del Sur
Escala de aplicación
Arrecife rocoso / orilla rocosa
Arrecifes coralinos
Bosque templado caducifolio
Bosques costeros
Bosques siempreverde templado
Bosques tropicales de hoja perenne
Desierto caliente
Desierto costero
Desierto frío
Ecosistema urbano
Ecosistemas de agua dulce
Ecosistemas de pastizales
Ecosistemas del desierto
Ecosistemas forestales
Ecosistemas marinos y costeros
Humedales (pantano, turberas)
Mar abierto
Mar abierto
Marisma salina
Montaña submarine / dorsal oceánica
Pastizales templados, sabana, matorral
Piscina, lago, estanque
Pradera marina
Pradera tropical, sabana, matorral
Río, corriente
Selva baja caducifolia
Tundra, pastizal montano
Áreas verdes (parques, jardines, bosque urbano)
Ciencia y investigación
Financiación sostenible
Gobernanza de áreas protegidas
Medios de vida sostenibles
Planificación de la gestión de áreas protegidas
Servicios ecosistémicos
Usos conflictivos / impactos acumulativos
Gestión ineficaz de los recursos financieros
Falta de conciencia del público y de los responsables de la toma de decisiones
Deficiente gobernanza y participación
Objectivos de Desarrollo Sostenible
ODS 1 - Fin de la pobreza
ODS 8 - Trabajo decente y crecimiento económico
ODS 12 - Producción y consumo responsables
Metas de Aichi
Meta 4: Producción y consumo sostenibles
Meta 11: Las áreas protegidas
Meta 14: Los servicios ecosistemicos
Meta 19: Intercambio de información y conocimiento


Brazil | Federal System of Protected Areas of Brazil (336 PA)


Protected areas (PAs) may contribute significantly to local economies through trip-related visitor spending on goods and services, indirect supply-chain spending, economic activity induced by the presence of the PA, and park operations. However, in general, PA agencies are more accustomed to financial reports which deal only with direct income (from gate fees, concessions, resource royalties, etc.) and costs, while failing to consider the wider scope of monetary value generated by PAs for local, and the larger provincial and national economies. Despite the fact that visitation is a major source of income to PAs, by ignoring the larger contribution to a regional economy, financial analyses can mislead decision makers and the general public.


Economic Impacts of Tourism in Protected Areas provide a way to inform stakeholders of the value of PAs in serving not just for conservation purposes, but as engines for relatively low-impact, high added-value economic growth.


¿ Cómo interactúan los building blocks en la solución?

The building block show the process to develop an analysis of economic impacts of visitor spending in protected areas.


The first building block explains that agencies that manage protected areas are accustomed to producing financial reports which deal with direct income and costs. It is necessary to identify the problem that narrow financial analyses significantly under-value the areas in the eyes of decision-makers and the general public compared to the larger economy effects for regional economies, which often amounts to many times the direct costs of running the protected areas.


In order to address this issue, the second building block offers a assessment tool called Tourism Economic Model in Protected Areas (TEMPA) that help guide project managers and others to develop Economic Analysis through the collection, analysis and display of tourism spending data at local and national level. 


The third building block describes how to use the tourism economic data for reporting and influencing decision-making. The main objective of tourism and recreation economic reports is public relations, increasing society support, raising PA budgets, building partnerships, and influencing local policies and planning decisions.


Impactos positivos

Economic Impacts of Tourism assist managers to inform policy-makers, stakeholders, local communities, and the public at large, of the PAs values for conservation as well as for benefit-sharing. 


Results in Brazil, for example, identified that each dollar the country invested in the PA system produced $7 in economic benefits. In 2017, the 10,7 million visitors spent about U$ 530 million on local communities around PAs. The total contribution of these expenditures to the national economy was around 80 thousand jobs, U$ 583 million in income, U$ 822 million in aggregated value to GDP and U$ 2,2 billion in sales. In regards to taxes, a total of U$ 38 million was generated at the municipal level; in state, U$ 130 million and in federal, U$ 71 million; totalizing U$ 240 million in taxes. 


Results are assisting policy-makers, conservation and commercial stakeholders, local communities, and the public at large of the value that PAs serve for conservation as well as engines for benefit-sharing. The results were used, for example, to pass the Law No. 13.668 / 2018, which improved the legislation for the concession of recreation services in federal protected areas in Brazil.



Thiago Beraldo

Brazil did its first report of economic contribuitions of visitors expenditures in federal protected areas in 2017. Park managers are getting really excited with this kind of data. They understand that economic analysis is an important tool to demonstrate proteced are values for the general public that is not interested in conservation. 


In a moment, where the country face a economic recession, economic analysis of turism is a way to inform stakeholders of the value of PAs in serving not just conservation purposes, but as engines for relatively low-impact, high added-value economic growth, presenting how many jobs, income and GDP is generated.


The results are now being used in presentations of park managers and directors, by journalists and other stakeholders that advocate in favor of conservation. The statement that each dollar invested in the protected area system produced $7 in economic benefits became a mantra for the agency staff.

Contribuido por

Thiago do Val Simardi Beraldo Souza Instituto Chico Mendes de Conservação da Biodiversidade (ICMBIO)

Contribuído por

Alex Chidakel
University of Florida
Brian Child
University of Florida and Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel (STAP)
Wen H. Chang
US Army Corps of Engineers
Virginia Gorsevski
Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel (STAP)
Usman Iftikhar
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)