The new administration in Brazil wants to double tourism by 2022 and has announced plans to roll back visa requirements for U.S. citizens. Finally, a last-minute trip to Rio de Janeiro will soon be possible.
In the past, it has been very difficult for Americans to obtain a visa to travel to Brazil. Not so much because Brazil fears American visitors, but as a reciprocal move to address the onerous hoops Brazilians must jump through to obtain a visa to visit the United States.
When I traveled to Brazil in 2011 it took a couple weeks and two consulate visits to obtain my visa…a very annoying process. Last year, Brazil made it a bit easier by introducing e-visas for U.S. citizens.
But now Brazil wants to go a step further. The country’s new tourism minister had announced plans to eliminate visa requirements for U.S. citizens. A precise date has not been announced, though President Jair Bolsonaro has promised this during his first 100 days in office (he assumed the presidency on 01 January). There are also plans to loosen visa requirements for citizens of Australia, Canada, and Japan.
When it comes to tourism, I’m all about lowering barriers to entry. While every country has a sovereign right to protect its borders, penalizing those who want to come to your country with a return ticket to spend money never made much sense to me. Like, am I really going to set up shop in Brazil or Russia? (no knock on Brazil or Russia, both nice places…just not home)
The news from Brazil is good. While the U.S. will likely not be making a reciprocal change to its own visa policy for Brazilians, change starts one country at a time. Brazilians are no longer punishing themselves for issues of pride. I respect that. As Tourism Minister Alvaro Antonio argued:
These countries have low immigration risk, are good for tourists, good in spending and don’t have consular problems. Our aim is to grow tourism and thereby create jobs and income for Brazil.
(H/T: One Mile at a Time)