The World Travel & Tourism Council has congratulated the government of Brazil for adopting new policies that exempt tourist visas for citizens from the US, Australia, Canada and Japan during Brazil’s hosting of the 2016 Olympics.
The exemptions will be in place from June 1st until September 18th this year.
Brazil is a strong tourism economy, with 9.6 per cent of the country’s GDP generated by tourism, and supporting a total of 8.8 million jobs, 8.8 per cent of total employment.
WTTC president David Scowsill said: “WTTC would like to commend the Brazilian government on the move to exempt visas for certain key nationalities as this will boost the country’s inbound travel and benefit the economy of the country.
“Currently the country only receives five per cent of its tourism income from foreign spending in comparison to 95 per cent from domestic spending.
“UNWTO data shows that international visitor numbers have been static between 5.3 and 5.7 million since 2000, with the exception of the World Cup year of 2014.
“The country would benefit greatly from extensive visa waiver programmes to boost these inbound tourism numbers.”
Scowsill added: “This is a great step for Brazil, to trial visa waiver programmes with these four countries in the period of the Olympic Games.
“However, in order for the country to see any long term economic and social benefits from this exemption, we would encourage the Government to extend these policies after the Olympics have finished.”
Scowsill concluded: “WTTC strongly encourages governments to adopt visa policies which stimulate tourism.
“Smarter visa processes, through the implementation of biometrics, visa waiver agreements and trusted traveller programmes, are essential to secure safe and smooth passage for the international visitor.”