Forget those stay-at-home, World Cup soccer-obsessed Brazilians. Feeling flush in a growing economy, Brazilian tourists have dethroned the British as Florida's largest group of overseas visitors by country of origin. Orlando was by far the most popular destination, attracting 768,000 Brazilians in 2013, compared to 759,000 from the United Kingdom, according to figures released last week by the U.S. Commerce Department.
The British had also been the largest group of overseas visitors to Orlando, the most visited U.S. city, for at least the past 15 years. The upturn in Brazilian travelers to Orlando, which jumped 20 percent from 2012, coincides with a slight decline since 2006 in visitors from the UK, which continues to struggle with the effects of the recession, said Mark Jaronski, a spokesman for the Orlando Convention and Visitors Bureau. Brazil sent almost 1.2 million people to Florida in 2013, compared to fewer than 1.1 million from Britain. In 2012 there were only 971,000 from Brazil and almost 1.1 million from Britain.