Brazil’s tourism sector has seen a boost in the past two years after the government eased visa restrictions on tourists, and its economy is now expected to grow by more than 30% this year, a senior official with the country’s tourism agency told the Wall Street Reuters news agency on Monday.
The official, who declined to be identified, said the increase in visitors to the country, which has been struggling with a record low birth rate and a chronic shortage of skilled workers, was being driven by a surge in the number of visas issued to visitors from the world’s largest emerging economies, including China and the United States.
The surge is expected to have an impact on Brazil’s economy by at least 30%, according to a forecast released by the countrys Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The country has already had a record-breaking year with tourism at its highest level in over a decade, but the government has been pushing to ease visa restrictions for foreign tourists, who have been the main source of employment for the country for decades.
But this year’s surge has had an unexpected impact on the country and the country is set to grow at a rate of 30% over the next three years, the official said.
The increase in the numbers of visas for tourists has increased the number by more the number applying for them, and it’s going to be a real boon to our tourism sector,” the official told Reuters.
The increase is expected in tourism revenue, which is forecast to rise by around $1 billion (US$1.45 billion) this year and by around 20% next year.
The government has said it is aiming to attract a total of about 3 million foreign tourists by 2020, more than double the current number.
The rise in tourists is expected partly because of Brazil’s low birthrate, which means more women are having children, said Ricardo Paz, director of the Brazil in Global Analytics, a consultancy.
Women have been able to choose between having a baby or staying at home to raise their children, while many men have opted to have children while working or looking for work.”
The increase of tourists is an important source of economic activity for Brazil, but we still have to continue to look for ways to increase tourism and create jobs,” he said.