Brazil’s Minister of Tourism, Walfrido Mares Guia, urged, yesterday, passage of a bill ending the visa requirement for American tourists. According to the Minister, this measure could earn Brazil more than US$ 2 billion a year.
“If there weren’t so much bureaucracy in issuing visas, we would be all set to receive over a million American tourists. And this would generate profits for the country, since Americans are the tourists whose daily expenditures are the highest. And they spend a lot,” remarked the Minister, who participated in a public hearing before the Chamber of Deputies’ Foreign Relations and National Defense Commission.
For the representative of the Minister of Foreign Relations, Ambassador Rui Mesquita, the visa requirement does not constitute a problem for the arrival of American tourists.
“The Ministry of Foreign Relations believes that the visa is not a problem in attracting American tourists to Brazil. Infrastructure and the lack of flights are stronger motives. Various European countries that don’t have visa requirements had fewer American tourists than we did in the last four years.”
Last year the Brazilian courts alleged the principle of reciprocity to oblige all American tourists to be photographed and fingerprinted, since all Brazilian citizens who travel to the United States are submitted to a similar system of identification.
Over four million tourists visited Brazil in 2004. Around 700 thousand of them were Americans.