On Monday, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn extolled his state, including its section of Route 66, as a tourism destination during a trade mission to Sao Paulo, Brazil.
According to a news release, Quinn said:
“Illinois offers Brazilians an authentic American experience. Whether it is the world-class culture and scenic lakefront in Chicago, the history of U.S. President Abraham Lincoln, the bluffs along the Mississippi River or the farmlands surrounding the historic Route 66 highway, Brazilian travelers will find plenty to enjoy in Illinois.”
That’s not just lip service Quinn is paying to the Mother Road and Brazil. Check out this data:
Governor Quinn’s effort to draw more Brazilian visitors to Illinois builds on recent tourism gains. Illinois welcomed 56,000 visitors from Brazil in 2011, making Brazilians the seventh largest group of overseas travelers to Illinois [my emphasis]. Inbound travel from Brazil to the U.S. is expected to grow 70 percent between 2011 and 2016.
The data matches anecdotal evidence from business owners and tourism officials about a surge in Brazilian travelers on Route 66.
It’s been apparent the number of Chinese tourists would see a big upswing in the coming years because of that country’s massive population and its fast-rising middle class. Businesses on the Mother Road are seeing Brazilians for many of the same reasons, and should continue to do so for the rest of the decade.