Sooner or later you may want to visit Brazil, a nation
of 165 million people that is larger than the continental
U.S. Join the crowd, as most Fortune 500 have been
there for many years.
for your first trip...
Trade Shows: There is simply no better way to to get
a quick feel for business in Brazil in a particular
industry. The larger events are of world-class quality
and attract exhibitors and buyers from all over the
Meetings with Brazilian companies: Foreigners are
very well received and local business people will
appreciate your visit. Unless you visit large firms
(which receive foreign visitors with great frequency),
you will be treated better than you expect.
Good planning and scheduling will be a key ingredient
of a successful trip. Be aware of big holidays (especially
Carnaval - same time as Mardi Gras) and school vacations
(July, December, January and February). Be conservative
about the quantity of meetings you can accomplish.
service in Brazil is reliable and safe, in some shorter
routes it may be more advantageous to travel by land.
Avoid dangerous roads (such as from São Paulo
to Curitiba). If you plan to be in smaller cities,
by all means talk to your hosts or people who know
the area before finalizing your plans.
In Brazil the
main gateways are São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.
From these cities you can make connections to anywhere
in the country, as well as to other countries in South
America. Both São Paulo and Rio have 2 airports
each; make sure you know which one you are flying
into and from. If you are going to northern Brazil,
there may be nonstop or direct flights from the United
States and Europe to locations such as Manaus and
fly between the USA and Brazil include Varig, TAM,
American, Continental, Delta and United. Service is
very good, as these routes are generally big money
makers for them.
between the U.S. and Brazil (and between Europe and
Brazil) depart at night with arrival early the next
morning. That means you don't loose any business days,
and you have plenty of connections upon arrival; however,
you have to sleep in the plane. Miami - São
Paulo takes 8 hours.
When you buy
a ticket to go to Brazil, check with the airline about
costs of the various itineraries. It may be possible
to add stopovers at no cost, as (for instance) the
itineraries below can all cost the same, especially
if you fly all segments on the same Brazilian carrier.
Miami - Recife
- São Paulo - Miami
Miami - São Paulo - Porto Alegre - São
Paulo - Miami
Miami - São Paulo - Miami
need to get an entry visa from the Brazilian Embassy
or Consulate that has jurisdiction over the State
you live in. For info check www.brazilmiami.org.
You can rent a cell phone to use during your stay
in Brazil. A good service is PressCell they will meet
you at the airport. You can reserve the phone ahead
of your trip, and know the number to give out before
The phone system in Brazil is reliable, and it's easy
to make and receive international calls.
VISA, MasterCard and AmEx are widely accepted. Many
ATM's dispense cash with foreign cards, but (VERY
important) check with your card issuer to know which
ATM networks in Brazil work for you.
For up-to-date exchange rates, check www.bloomberg.com/sa/sahome.html.
Be careful with your things; be careful in deciding
where you go. Do not stand out by acting like a helpless
tourist. Ask local contacts to assist you if necessary.
If you go out in the evening, do it with people you
If you need to
be told NOT to wear your Rolex in Brazil, I am telling
São Paulo is the New York of Brazil: largest
city and most important business center. If you do
business in Brazil, sooner or later you will visit
São Paulo. The metropolitan area of 15 million
residents has the usual advantages and problems created
by such a large mass of people.
Weather is temperate
- you can find forecasts at www.weather.com.
are vastly spread out, and automobiles are the only
way to move around. Schedule your meetings according
to location, as you would do in Los Angeles. There
are top hotels in different parts of town, so find
out where in the city you need to be. Big name hotels
are excellent and there are many good smaller hotels
and flats or apart-hotels. "Motels" are
only for extra-curricular purposes.
starts early and stays up late. Normal working hours
are 8am to 6pm; lunch is at noon. Especially with
foreign visitors, business lunches and dinners are
the rule, so go on a diet before your trip.
is equivalent to the U.S. (suits), but is becoming
more informal (no tie, short sleeves). If in doubt,
wear a suit. If possible, ask first.
For local transport,
don't even think of renting a car. Always ask suggestions
from the people you will meet. Easiest way to get
around is by cab. It may even be advantageous to hire
a Taxi for hours or days as your need may be. Drivers
will usually agree to take you on trips to locations
within 2 or 3 hours driving; don't forget to negotiate
the price ahead of time, and tip 10 to 15%.
If feasible for
you, a way to increase your productivity is to use
a temporary office and invite people to come to come
visit you. Check out the facilities that HQ has -
several to choose from.
Stores open at
9 am and close at 5 or 6 pm (later in malls), with
no lunch break. Banks normally keep shorter hours.
In Brazil there are no "siestas".
Brazil has many cities with population of 1 to 3 million.
The business pace is more relaxed than in the mega
centers (São Paulo and Rio), but many of the
same business habits are followed. Lunch is 12 to
1; business meals are common, and the food is excellent.
For a different twist, invite your Brazilian contacts
for a business breakfast, productivity can be very
Attire is more
relaxed; wear a tie and jacket for your first meeting,
but don't show off. If in doubt, ask your hosts for
guidance - then dress slightly more formally than
what they suggest.
cities have small airports, but relatively few flights,
which are always full. Reconfirm by phone or in person,
especially if changing flights. CHECK-IN EARLY.
Cabs are the
best option, even if you need to travel a few dozens
of miles, taxis can accommodate you; your hosts or
hotel personnel can help you find one and negotiate
the price. Cab drivers speak only Portuguese, but
will go out of their way to communicate with you and
help you, as they rarely see foreigners and you may
well be their topic of conversation for a week. A
good tip (15%) can work wonders.
In small cities you will depend more on your hosts.
Access is by car from airports in nearby larger cities.
Expect low productivity, take some "office work"
to do if you are stuck in a hotel in between meetings.
Expect to be
invited for meals and visits to homes. Your success
will be directly related to your ability to take advantage
of these opportunities - this is when personal bonds
are created. No matter how good your business proposal
is, you must sell yourself as a person.
Duvekot Consulting - http://www.duvekot.com/Brazil/travel.htm