With hotels established in the United States, Canada and Panama, the sophisticated Trump Hotel Collection has Brazil in its sights. “The hotel market is our top priority. Latin America is hot and it’s definitely on our radar,” said Donald Trump in an interview to Isto E Dinheiro.

The Trump hotel group’s head of operations, Jim Petrus, confirmed their interest in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, cities that are being considered for the construction of their luxury hotels. Trump’s decision to invest in Brazil should move the hotel sector in the country, as Brazil has one of the highest potential for returns in the segment. By 2014, the year of the World Cup, about US$ 7.3 billion will be invested to build new hotels, including units for the luxury segment. And this is the opportunity that now attracts Trump.

Trump has had one brief encounter with Brazil. In 2003, entrepreneur Ricardo Bellino was able to schedule a meeting with the American billionaire, but he had just three minutes to convince Trump that Brazil was worthy of his investment. Bellino presented Trump with a US$100 million project of a luxury condominium in São Paulo. Despite the successful start, the partnership ended three years later when the American businessman gave up on it claiming that the project was not up to his standards. Bellino recognizes that Trump was frustrated with Brazil.

Now, Trump is confident that it is time to return to Brazil, and this time he will bet big. The optimism stems not only from the booming economy, but also the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics which should bring nearly 20 million foreigners to Brazil. “The Brazilian market is very prosperous, and this makes the country a priority not only for Trump but for many hotel chains,” says Petrus. Other hotel groups such as InterContinental, Marriott and Best Western are also on their way into the country.

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