Exclusive: Forrec’s Gordon Grice tips Latin America for major attractions growth

by Jak Phillips | 11 Aug 2014

Latin America is poised to become a major market for the attractions industry in the coming decade, with recent football World Cup host Brazil a particularly promising market, according to Forrec senior creative Gordon Grice.

During a wide-ranging briefing at Attractions Management headquarters, the industry veteran with over 25 years’ experience expressed excitement over the emerging market, which although still very young, has the potential to develop at pace.

“Right now we do a big chunk of our work in Asia, but Latin America is a region we’re particularly enthusiastic about,” Grice told Attractions Management.

“There’s an increasing amount of work in Brazil, perhaps spurred by recent sporting events, and we’re eager to expand our presence in a dynamic market which is primed for growth.”

He said the South American continent, and Brazil in particular, are of strong interest to Toronto-based Forrec, whose Latin American regional director Miguel Lameiro has been busy travelling, networking and speaking, to deepen the firm’s involvement throughout the region. Lameiro’s itinerary also includes Mexico, where expanding leisure and resort activity represents another exciting market.

Of special interest are integrated projects, which combine a range of leisure and entertainment environments into a single destination. Such projects, while relatively new to the Latin American market, offer ideal opportunities for Forrec’s broad leisure, resort, mixed-use and entertainment design capabilities. According to the company's business development officer in Brazil, Ricardo Tonding Etges, existing timeshare resorts are moving to enhance their entertainment elements – through the addition of increasingly sophisticated entertainment centres, theme parks and water parks.

Brazil hosted what was widely-hailed as a successful football World Cup earlier this summer and will also stage the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. The World Cup has already sparked a flurry of developments, with both pop-up and long-term attractions seemingly catalysed by football’s premier international event. The World Cup kicked off with the unveiling of a museum dedicated to football legend Pelé, while further evidence of the potential for an economic and attractions boom following a major sporting event came last week with reports that the London 2012 Olympic Games provided the UK economy with a trade and industry boost in excess of £14bn (US$24bn, €17.6bn).

In the wake of the World Cup, Brazilian tourist agencies are beginning to realise the potential revenue streams from increased national and international tourism, say Etges and Lameiro. International tourist visits to Brazil total around five million annually (compared to 24 million for Mexico) so the government is eager to harness this potential, as well as the huge opportunities offered domestically from a middle class that has swelled to an estimated 108 million people.

Latin America is poised to become a major market for the attractions industry in the coming decade, with recent football World Cup host Brazil a particularly promising market, according to Forrec senior creative Gordon Grice. During a wide-ranging briefing at Attractions Management headquarters, the industry veteran with over 25 years’ experience expressed excitement over the emerging market, which although still very young, has the potential to develop at pace. “Right
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Grice says Forrec is moving quickly to position itself in the promising Latin American market / Keith Penner Photography
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