Brazil has many natural and cultural treasures that are quite popular among foreign visitors. The country is home to the largest rainforest on Earth. It has sandy beaches and beautiful flat-topped mountains. It is the birth place of samba. And the country has many towns built by the Portuguese during colonial times.
But, Brazil has a problem with tourism. The Ministry of Tourism says that only 6.6 million foreigners visited Brazil last year. Vinicius Lummertz is the president of Brazil’s tourism board, Embratur and according to him, “The highest gap between potential in tourism in the world and what’s been realized so far is in Brazil.”
The government is now aiming to take measures to double the number of foreign visitors to Brazil in the next five years. The government plan includes a law to permit 100 percent foreign ownership of airlines. The goal is to increase the number of flight routes and lower the cost of travel.
The government also will permit citizens of the United States, Canada, Japan and Australia to apply for visas online, instead of visiting a consulate or diplomatic office. Government officials hope to double their investment in tourism promotion efforts. Lummertz says that the government’s plan will help prop up Brazil to other countries. Brazil has other problems, too. It has one of the highest murder rates in the world along with threats of Zika virus. But Brazilian business owners say these issues must be put in context.