Rebeca Duran

Rebeca Duran

Staff Writer
The Brazil Business


How to Open a Pousada in Brazil

Rebeca Duran

Rebeca Duran

Staff Writer
The Brazil Business


The pousada segment is booming in Brazil. Before opening one, it's important to gather information such as the initial investment, the return period for the sector legislation, how to attract customers, among others. Here we have the main points for those who want to open an inn.

What is a Pousada?

It is an establishment characterized by having up to 50 housing units or capacity to serve about 80 guests. Pousadas offer reception services, food and accommodation temporary, and may be in a single building up three floors, or have chalets or bungalows.

In general, these places include breakfast in the daily payment and, just like the hotels, are specialized in exploring the possibilities of the region where they are located, such as historical elements, extreme sports, the typical fruits, traditional cuisine, leisure or beach mountain, the farm environment, climate mountain, etc.

Pousadas are completely vulnerable to seasonality effect, which means that the type of weather chosen will also define a certain style to the place. In Brazil the weather can be very different in each time of the year, so it's important to considered that the pousadas may have ups and downs in number of guests during the year, depending on seasonality.


The pousada will require a considerable investment. The costs can vary between BRL 60 000 to BRL 160 000, but can also achieve BRL 1,5 million, depending on the size and structure of the place. Furniture, renovations that may be needed, vehicles, the staff, besides spending on formalization, administrative expenses, permits, licenses and also the promotion of the business are all included in this range.

A financial planning is essential and must be detailed with all costs and expenses, especially if the businesspeople alternative is to resort to bank credit and financing. For this, prepare an excellent business plan.


It is fundamental to hire a professional to define spaces, such as an engineer or an architect, who can set the correct use of space and line decoration. The number of rooms that a pousada includes varies between 6 and 16 apartments, in areas ranging from 720 m² to 3000 m².

The General Regulation Means Lodging (RMH) determines which aspects required for the construction of a hostel:

  • basic services of water supply
  • basic services of electricity
  • health network
  • wastewater treatment
  • solid waste collection, with proper disposal.


To open a pousada an entity must be created in Brazil, a few procedures are requested and the businesspeople must registry the place in a few organizations. The best way of doing it is hiring a professional accountant for guidance to legalize the company in the following organs:

  • Commercial Board (Junta Comercial) from the State in question.
  • Federal Revenue Secretariat (Secretária da Receita Federal).
  • Treasury Department (Secretária da Fazenda).
  • City Hall (Prefeitura do Município).
  • Employer's Trade Union (Sindicato Patronal).
  • Brazilian Tourism Enterprise also known as Empresa Brasileira de Turismo (EMBRATUR).


Besides all the requirements above, there is a number of regulations for the establishment and operation of an inn that makes it necessary to have a prior knowledge of all legislation related to the activity, especially those that are listed below:

  • Decree No. 5046 of 03.30.2005 – regulates the registration in the Ministry of Tourism of tourism service providers hoteliers, offering temporary accommodation for guests, through the adoption of hosting agreement, tacit or express, and daily charge for the occupation of housing unit, furnished and equipped.
  • Decree No. 84,910, of July 15, 1980 – regulates the activities performed by firms or entities that operate or manage Tourism Lodging Agents. These enterprises or institutions are responsible for providing hosting services in rooms furnished and equipped, food and other necessary users.
  • Law No. 8078, of September 11, 1990 – regulates the ratio of consumption throughout the Brazilian territory – Consumer Code protection.
  • Law No. 9605 of February 13, 1998 – regulates the penal and administrative sanctions for conduct and activities harmful to the environment. Resolution of executive board – Anvisa (the National Health Surveillance Agency) RDC 216, of September 15, 2004 – regulates the good practices for Food Services.
  • Normative deliberation n º 232, of November 23, 1987 – determines the inclusion of training programs for labor in the projects/companies that require access to tax benefits and/or financial means for implementation of accommodations.
  • Normative deliberation n º 070, of November 12, 1980 – establishes standards for presentation of EMBRATUR construction projects and expansion of Media Hosting across the country, aiming to obtain the incentives and fiscal stimulus, economic or financial.

Advantages of Opening a Pousada in Brazil

The Media Hosting Research reveals that 90% of hosting companies in Brazil are micro and small establishments. Brazil has, according to the Brazilian Association of the Hotel Industry, also known as Associação Brasileira da Indústria de Hotéis (ABIH), 5925 lodging facilities legally registered in the country.

The inns predominate in the inner cities, that represent more than 80% of the market. The Division of Hotels and inns are in full recovery since 2010, after going through a period of low occupancy rates and average daily fall in the number of guests between 2008 and 2009, reflecting the global crisis that also affected the domestic market.

Currently, the demand for pousadas keeps stable with growth trends, mainly by the rise of the economic power of some classes and the insertion of Brazil in several national and international events, enabling the expansion of business hotels. A lot of pousadas will have an increase number of guests in 2014 and 2016, with the World Cup and the Olympic Games. As a result, many businesspeople will open new pousadas or, if they already have one, will improve their services.