By Nelson Belen, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – According to the latest figures from Brazil’s Ministry of Tourism, visa applications to visit Brazil saw a significant surge from February to July this year, up 42 percent from the same period last year. Analysts estimate the increase in visitors amounts to an injection of appoximately US$41.2 million into the flailing Brazilian economy.
The latest data corresponds to the launch of the electronic visa (e-visa) program, which is largely credited for the increase in applications. Under the program, visitors from the United States, Japan, Australia, and Canada, can now apply for visas to Brazil online and receive the visa in as little as 72 hours after submitting the required documents.
Since the start of the e-visa in February, 121,959 visa applications were submitted, of which, 95,417 were submitted online, or approximately eighty percent of all applications.
As expected, the program’s implementation provided a big boost to the four eligible countries. Canadian visa applications in the period since the program launched are up by fifty percent over the same period last year.
U.S. applications are up by 45 percent since the program began. Australian applications registered a 35 percent increase, while Japan applications rose by 23 percent.
Of the four countries, the U.S. had the most visa applications between February and July, with 87,349 submitted. Of those, 69,808 were done online.
The second most visa applications among the four countries came from Japan with 14,272, followed by Canada at 10,333, and Australia with 10,005.
“We need to open our country to visitors from other countries and thus bring in new foreign exchange to move the Brazilian economy,” explained Brazil’s Minister of Tourism, Vinícius Lummertz.
“The tourism sector has much to contribute to the Brazilian economy and these numbers prove this. We made the right move but we still need to do more.”