Tourism package aims to attract 12 million foreign tourists a year by 2022 and increase visitor revenue to US$ 19 billion
Tourism Minister Marx Beltrão announced a new programme this Tuesday (11 April) called Brasil + Turismo ("Tourism+ Brazil"), a set of measures to strengthen the sector in the country. The programme comprises several actions to cut red tape in the sector, increase tourist inflows, issue electronic visas, expand the regional route network and open 100% of the capital of national airlines to foreign investors. The government expects measures to generate more jobs in the sector.
"The Brasil + Turismo programme was created to correct a historical misconception and allow tourism to be seen as a protagonist in the creation of jobs and income. The time has come for tourism to shine," said Beltrão.
One important measure is the change in the Brazilian Aeronautics Code that will open 100% of the capital of Brazilian airlines to foreign investment, aiming to increase their competitiveness, expand the regional flight network and increase the number of domestic flights.
"Our goal is to increase competitiveness between companies and, consequently, reduce prices and offer more routes and destinations. This initiative has the support of the population," Beltrão added.
President Michel Temer is expected to sign a provisional measure ending the 20% cap for foreign capital in Brazilian airlines in place today.
The ministry expects the number of foreign tourists in the country to grow from the 6.5 million who came to Brazil in 2016 to12 million in 2022, and visitor revenue to expand from the current US$ 6 billion annually to US$ 19 billion by the same time.
Another expected impact of the measure is the inclusion of 40 million Brazilians in the travel consumer market. Currently, less than half of the Brazilian population travels every year (about 60 million).
The Brasil + Turismo also aims to create nearly 6 million jobs in the sector. Worldwide, the tourism sector accounts for one in every 11 jobs (9%), according to numbers from the World Tourism Organization (WTO). In Brazil, tourism directly and indirectly employs 7 million people.
To help increase the number of foreign tourists, the Ministry of Tourism has proposed to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to deploy an electronic visa system by the end of this year for tourists coming from countries such as the USA, Canada, Australia and Japan.
Granting electronic visas allows the entire process - application, payment of fees, background checks, granting and issuance - to be completed within 48 hours. The Tourism Minister said it is also considering the inclusion of other countries, such as India and China, in the system.
General Tourism Law
Another measure makes changes in the legal status and name of Embratur, currently the Brazilian Tourism Board. The idea is to transition it from a self-regulated government body (autarquia) to a so-called Autonomous Social Service and rename it the Brazilian Tourism Promotion Agency. With the changes, Embratur, now a more independent government agency, can act more competitively in the international tourism market and receive private funds to develop projects. The funds to finance the new Embratur will be sourced from a percentage of revenues from the federal lottery.
Another important action of Brasil + Turismo is the sending of a bill to Congress, for urgent voting, that would modernise the General Tourism Law by cutting red tape and strengthening public-private partnerships in the tourism sector.
The government is also planning for initiatives to make better use of areas owned by the federal government with potential for tourism, better capacity building programmes and stronger, more autonomous tourism-related government bodies at the state level.