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Brazil tourism gets off to flying start in 2018

Since the introduction of the electronic visa for US citizens in late January, Brazil tourism has soared. After the best January on record for revenue from international visitors, the county has notched up 70% more tourists from the US and signed an Open Skies deal. Experts believe 2018 has all the signs of being the best ever for tourism in Brazil.

Best January in history

Brazil registered a total revenue of US$779 million from foreign visitors in January. This is the highest ever for the first month of the year since records began in 1990. The figure is almost 18% higher than January 2017 and close to the highest for any month.

Currently record holders are June and July in 2014 when Brazil hosted the FIFA World Cup. Revenue from international visitors for Brazil tourism reached US$793 million in June and US$785 in July.

“This is just the beginning,” said Marx Beltrao, Minister of Tourism, in a press statement. “I’m convinced that Brazil’s opening-up to the international market with the electronic visa will boost the country’s economy and create jobs and revenue for Brazil.”

E-visa boosts visitor figures

Experts attribute the marked rise in revenue in January to the introduction of the electronic visa. The e-visa came into play in the month for citizens from the US, Canada, Japan and Australia. Rather than waiting days for visa approval and paying a considerable sum of money, tourists get an e-visa to enter Brazil in under 72 hours and for the cost of US$40, around 75% cheaper than the previous system.

Provisional figures from Brazilian tourism authorities point to a huge increase in the number of visitors from the US since the e-visa was introduced. 65% of US arrivals are using the e-visa and it’s estimated that American visitor numbers have risen by up to 70%, far ahead of initial expectations.

The World Tourism Organization (WTO) advocates e-visas as a way of boosting tourism in a county. Research conducted by the organisation says that facilitating entry can increase tourism by up to 25% a year. For their part, the Brazilian Ministry of Tourism, Embratur, estimates that the e-visa will add R$1.4 billion in tourist revenue over two years.

Open skies between the US and Brazil

In tandem with the introduction of the e-visa comes the announcement of the Open Skies agreement between the US and Brazil. The Brazilian government recently approved the deal, which should come into action later this year.

The Open Skies agreement consolidates the partnership between American Airlines and LATAM, and gives the go-ahead for unlimited flights between the two countries. The introduction of more flights will also bring ticket prices down and facilitate travel for both American and Brazilian tourists.

Embratur believes that the agreement will lead to an increase of 30% in flights between the two countries . And boost Brazilian tourism among American visitors, drawn to Brazil’s myriad attractions along with cheaper flights and easy entry with the e-visa.

The Open Skies deal will add to routes all over Brazil. At Fortaleza International Airport in Ceará the authorities have announced more flights linking this area of Northeast Brazil to the US. In addition to the current direct flight to Miami, a further two will operate to Orlando from later on this year.

(Sources:  Embratur, NASDAQ)

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