The Amazon is considered one of humanity’s greatest natural treasures, but tourism in the region is still "incipient," says the Brazilian Minister of Tourism, Walfrido Mares Guia.
He points out that none of the more than 430 weekly flights that arrive in Brazil from the United States and Europe goes to the Amazon.
"Flights are rare. We want to develop tourism in economy and business class flights to this region. To do so, we must take an essential step: simplify the question of requiring a Brazilian visa for US citizens to enter Brazil and the US$ 100 tax, which hampers vacation tourism," the Minister said.
Mares Guia got together this Wednesday, February 15, with entrepreneurs and politicians to learn about a tourism project for the region, based on air travel and developed by the Federation of Industries of the State of São Paulo (FIESP) and the Arruda Botelho Institute, a non-governmental organization whose goal is to contribute to environmental preservation, as well as helping to preserve the cultural patrimony.
The federal government considers tourism in the Amazon to be strategic for the generation of income and jobs for the 20 million Brazilians who live in the region.
The Amazon currently accounts for less than 1% of tourism in Brazil, according to the FIESP. That is why the Ministry of Tourism is in favor of integrating air travel in South America and changing the way the sector is regulated in Brazil.
One of the activities being designed to stimulate tourism in areas off the beaten track is the ministry’s Go Brazil program, which is still being discussed with entrepreneurs from the hotel and airline sectors.
The idea is to set up a website offering cheaper flights to Brazilian destinations that Brazilians don’t usually visit. The program is expected to go into effect by the end of the year.