Part of the “Tourism + Brazil” programme, the Ministry of Tourism has proposed to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to deploy an electronic visa system by the end of this year initially for tourists coming from USA, Canada, Australia and Japan. The Tourism Minister said it is also considering the inclusion of other countries, such as India and China, in the system.
Tourists coming from the participating countries will have an easier time requesting entry into Brazil as of the end of 2017. The entire visa process (application, payment of fees, analysis, granting and issuance) for visitors from these countries will be doable online, and concluded within an estimated 48 hours.
This easier application process will bring a major boost to the sector. With this measure, the forecast is that the facilitated entry will inject R$ 1.4 billion in the economy in two years.
For the Embratur president, Vinicius Lummertz, the visa requirement is the most important barrier for the growth of foreign tourism in any country.
“Today, tourism accounts for about 9% of Brazil’s GDP (Gross Domestic Product). Numbers from the WTTC (World Travel and Tourism Council) indicate that countries may experience 5% to 25% growth in tourism revenue by reducing entry visa requirements”, Lummertz explained.
According to the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), the facilitation of travel can generate up to 20% increases in flows between destinations.
Largest Sources of Tourists
The measure primarily affects those four countries, considered strategic due to the number of tourists and travel spending they generate. In 2016, 849,000 tourists from the U.S, Canada, Australia and Japan came to Brazil – or 15% of the total 6.6 million foreign tourists who visited the country last year. They spent R$ 539 million in the Brazilian economy.
During the Olympic and Paralympic Games, Brazil issued a temporary waiver in the diplomatic policy of reciprocity for travellers from these four countries. The experience saw a 55.31% increase in the number of foreigners from the beneficiary countries over the same period in 2015.
According to a survey by the Ministry of Tourism, 82% these tourists said that the visa waiver would facilitate their return to Brazil.
Brazil’s visa policy is based on the principle of reciprocity. This means that persons from the US, Canada, Australia and Japan, countries that require visas of Brazilian citizens for entry into their territories, will also need authorization to travel to Brazil.
The electronic visa aims to facilitate the entry of these tourists into Brazilian territory. Subsequently, Brazil expects the initiative to be extended to Saudi Arabia, Qatar, India and China. Currently, Brazil has bilateral agreements for visa exemption with about 90 countries.