Visa waiver leads to jump in Brazil bookings

The visa waiver program announced in March by the Brazilian Government is already generating positive results.

Last month, the government announced that on and after June 17, 2019, citizens of the United States, Canada, Australia, and Japan will no long have to obtain and pay for an e-visa before traveling to Brazil. That announcement is being credited for a significant uptick in the number of reservations made from the United States as well as the other three countries covered by the new policy.

According to a study done be Amadeus Group, one of the three largest technology companies in the travel segment, bookings from the U.S. for June were up 53 percent from the same period in 2018, while July bookings were nearly double (97 percent higher than) the same month last year.

Citizens of the four covered countries will be able to stay in Brazil for 90 days from the date of first entry in the country, extendable for an equal period, for a total stay of up to 180 days every twelve months. The four countries are considered strategic for the development of tourism in Brazil.

The development comes as part of a series of measures that Brazil has taken to make it easier for visitors and, by doing so, to increase tourism. Last year, the government launched an e-visa platform through which travelers could apply for visas with more efficiency and ease and saw a 35 percent increase in visa applications in less than a year.

Flag of Brazil

According to the Foreign Ministry, nearly 170,000 visas were issued to citizens of the four countries in 2017. With the implementation of e-visa, the number rose to nearly 230,000 in 2018.

“The numbers show that visa exemptions for strategic countries are a good measure, which generates jobs and income in Brazil," Marcelo Alvaro Antônio, Minister of Tourism, said in a news release announcing the study's findings. "It is time for the country to take advantage of all its tourism potential.”

Christ the Redeemer (Cristo Redentor), Rio

With dozens of daily flights from numerous major gateway airports, experiencing Brazil will be easier than ever. And the strong U.S. dollar can make such a trip affordable. As of this writing, rooms at TripAdvisor’s top-rated hotel in Rio de Janeiro can be booked for less than US$150 per night. Many other well-rated properties have rooms for less than US$100 per night.

And there is much to see outside cities like Rio, São Paulo, and Salvador. From the Amazon in the North to the wines in the South; from the exotic Pantanal in the Midwest to the lush beaches of the Northeast, there are hundreds of hidden gems to be unearthed.


The U.S. Department of State has issued a Level 2 travel advisory for Brazil, advising tourists to “exercise increased caution” due to crime, and notes that some areas carry an even greater risk. Tourists are advised not to travel to any areas within 150 km of Brazil’s land borders with Venezuela, Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana, and Paraguay, although the warning does not apply to the Foz do Iguacu National Park or Pantanal National Park.

Tourists should also consider avoiding the use of public, municipal buses in Brazil at any time of day, and especially at night, due to crime. Long walks on the beach? Not a good idea either, and an even worse idea after dark.

State’s complete advisory is available here.

On a less somber note, Brazil has another quirk: its electricity voltage is not consistent across the country. It varies from 110 to 220 volts, depending on the location. Fortunately, most of the electronics we travel with will handle that entire voltage range, meaning an adapter plug may be sufficient. In addition, many major hotels have outlets in both voltages.

Plug adapter for Brazil. Photo by Carl Dombek

“With its spectacular beaches, lush rain forests, rich culture, exotic cuisine, and exciting nightlife, Brazil is one of the most compelling countries to visit today,” the official news release concluded. “Travelers are invited to explore Brazil’s incredible geographical diversity – from the wetlands to the beaches. With a beautiful, tropical climate, Brazil is an easily accessible, exotic get-away for couples, families and business travelers.”

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