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Cancun, Mexico's top tourism destination. (Photo: Mexico Government)
The Global CCU winners 2017. Front low, far left is Igor Ferreira, Dean of McDonald's University in São Paulo, who was the winner of the "Leader of the Year" award. (Photo: Global CCU)
Wednesday, April 12, 2017
Trade Talk

Latin America Tourism: Mexico Improves

Sao Paulo offshore real estate owners. McDonald’s University, Vale, Bradesco win awards.


Mexico, Latin America’s top tourism market, now ranks 22nd worldwide on the latest Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index from the World Economic Forum. That’s an improvement of eight spots from the last index in 2015.

The index measures the set of factors and policies that enable the sustainable development of the travel and tourism sector, which in turn, contributes to the development and competitiveness of a country.

Brazil, Latin America’s second-largest market in terms of visitors, ended up in 27th place on the index, one spot better than before.

Meanwhile, the Dominican Republic – which is Latin America’s second-largest tourism earner after Mexico, according to Latinvex data – ranks in 76th place worldwide, up five spots from 2015.

Argentina, Latin America’s third-largest tourism market by visitors, ranks 50th worldwide on the index, up seven spots.

Panama worsened slightly, dropping one spot to 35th worldwide on the index, while neighboring Costa Rica moved up four spots to 38th place.

The worst in Latin America? Surprisingly enough it’s not Venezuela, but Paraguay. The South American country ranks in 110th place worldwide, up three spots from 2015.  El Salvador is the second-worst country in Latin America, followed by Venezuela.


Nearly 3,500 properties in São Paulo, Brazil worth at least $2.7 billion are linked to offshore secret companies, according to a new investigation by Germany-based corruption watchdog Transparency International.

This raises red flags about the use of real estate for money laundering in Brazil’s largest city, the group says.

“It is alarming that we cannot find out the real owners of $2.7 billion worth of property in Sao Paulo,” José Ugaz, Chair of Transparency International, said in a statement. “That is why Transparency International is calling for public registers of property ownership so that the corrupt cannot hide illicit wealth.”

The vast majority of the 236 owner companies registered offshore are in just five territories: the British Virgin Islands, Panama, Switzerland, the United States and Uruguay.

“Trying to uncover the real owners of these types of properties in São Paulo is almost impossible despite the fact that many databases are public,” said Fabiano Angélico, author of the report São Paulo: Does corruption live next door?  “We need a system that is easy to use and transparent. We spent thousands of hours pouring over files and sorting companies by hand. In this day and age this should be possible at the touch of a button. The technology is there, we just need the political will.”

Along the corridor that joins Chucri Zaidan Avenue and Engenheiro Luiz Carlos Berrini Avenue there are 820 real estate properties valued at $370 million owned by Brazilian legal persons controlled by shell companies. On Paulista Avenue, the study found 195 properties, worth some $38.4 million (almost R$120 million) and on Brigadeiro Faria Lima Avenue, another main artery, there are 67 properties worth about $42 million (R$131 million).

Transparency International recommends four steps to stop secrecy and make it harder for the corrupt to launder their ill-gotten gains:

The Senate should pass bill no. 27/2013 (Projeto de Lei da Câmara no. 27/2013) that provides a legal definition of beneficial ownership. This bill was already approved in the Lower House.

The federal government should make the national company registry publicly available online, in open data format. The national registry must include data on beneficial ownership and be regularly updated to ensure the information is adequate, accurate and current.

City governments should publish data on beneficial ownership information of all companies, whether incorporated domestically or overseas, owning property. This requirement should be applied retroactively, and the data should be made available in open data format.

All data published should be in an easy-to-use open data format.

Transparency International is advocating an end to all shell companies because they can be used by the corrupt to launder illicit wealth and property is a key target. In 70 per cent of 200 grand corruption cases analyzed by the World Bank the corrupt used shell companies that hide who is the real owner of the assets being bought and one of the most popular aims for money launderers using shell companies is to buy property.


Arcos Dorados, Latin America’s largest restaurant chain and the world’s largest McDonald’s franchisee, has been recognized by the Global Council of Corporate Universities (GlobalCCU) for the outstanding work of McDonald´s University in Latin America, headquartered in Brazil. Igor Ferreira, Dean of McDonald's University in São Paulo, was the winner of the "Leader of the Year" award.

The GlobalCCU confers this recognition to corporate universities with the highest level of excellence in the world that have generated value for people, businesses and society. The recognition was delivered by a Qualifying Committee composed of renowned corporate university professionals from around the globe during the GlobalCCU Forum in Paris.

Companies from Brazil, Germany, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Portugal, Russia, Spain, South Africa, Turkey and the United States also won awards. Other Brazilian awardees included Banco Bradesco (which won a gold award in the category Best Overall Corporate University); Caixa Econômica Federal (which won a silver award in the category Best Corporate University – Culture and brand);  Brazil's Central Bank (which won a silver award in the category Best Corporate University - Corporate Responsibility); Banco do Brasil (which won a gold award in the category  Best Corporate University - Innovation) and Vale (which won a bronze award in the category  Best Corporate University - Innovation).

McDonald's University in São Paulo is one of seven Hamburger University campuses in the McDonald´s system around the world. It is built on an area of 3,500 m2 and was designed by architect Lelio Machado Raine. The institution can serve more than 300 students, and consists of an auditorium, the McDonald's Nutrition Center, a teacher's room, classrooms, meeting rooms, and simultaneous translation booths. It also has three large classrooms equipped with the most advanced technological resources, as well as a soccer field and gymnasium.

“It is a privilege and an honor for me to receive this award," Ferreira said in a statement. "It is a recognition of a career within Arcos Dorados where I have held various positions, starting in the kitchen at a restaurant in Curitiba at age 14 until I became Dean of the prestigious McDonald´s University in São Paulo in 2015. This journey has meant that I have lived, firsthand, the values and philosophy of this great Company.”

Ferreira began his career as an employee at a McDonald's restaurant in Brazil and continued his education until completing a Master's Degree in Business Administration. His professional career included time working with other companies before returning to Arcos Dorados in 2015. As Dean of McDonald's University in São Paulo, he was responsible for designing the new university model to align with the work of McDonald's Universities worldwide. Its objective is to position the institution as a facilitator of the Company's strategy, and a disseminator for culture, to ensure Arcos Dorados remains an organization of excellence.

“One of the main commitments of Arcos Dorados is social mobility through providing the first formal employment for many young people, so that through hard work and dedication they can achieve their dreams," Arcos Dorados CEO Sergio Alonso said. "Igor Ferreira is an inspiration for all of us, not only for his excellent work, but because ambitious young people like him work every day in our restaurants. This is how Arcos Dorados positively impacts the lives of people and society."


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