In an attempt to draw more attention from the Canadian tourism sector, the Government of Brazil has lifted its visa requirements for Canadian citizens wishing to travel to South America's largest country.
Back in 2016, Brazil temporarily suspended its mandatory visa requirements during the 2016 Rio Olympics.
No more e-visas?
In January 2017, the Brazilian government introduced a brand new electronic visa (e-visa) in an attempt to help to expand the number of travellers to Brazil, and also foster opportunities for commercialization between Brazilian and international operators.
After just one month of being in operation, there was a 76 per cent jump in the application for entry authorizations in the country. In Canada alone, the Brazilian Foreign Ministry registered an increase of 40 per cent in the number of visa applications in the same month.
The previous e-visa allowed travellers to submit their application by registering on the website or through the mobile app and essentially eliminated the requirement to present documents at a visa centre in-person.
Fee payment could be made through a payment gateway, with the visa issued through a .pdf file (usually after five business days) that would then be downloaded, printed, and presented upon boarding and landing in Brazil. Once granted, the visa was valid for up to 90 days in Brazil.
According to The CBC, the Brazilian government made the announcement that it would waive visa requirements for Canadian citizens via its official gazette yesterday (Mon. Mar. 18, 2019).
Will removing visas boost Canadian visits?
Currently, the Government of Canada advises its citizens to exercise a high degree of caution while travelling in and through Brazil due to high crime rates and regular incidents of gang-related and other violence in urban areas.
Crime rates are highest in urban centres, particularly in areas adjacent to impoverished neighbourhoods, including two popular tourist towns Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, along with Brasilia, Recife, and Salvador.
Violent crime has been known to occur in Brazil and it stems from the high prevalence of guns coupled with the willingness of criminals and police to resort to violence.
The Canadian government also states on its website that credit card and ATM fraud is a major problem, and political demonstrations have been known to occur on a regular basis, which can put Canadians at risk.
Another major factor keeping Canadians from visiting is due in part to the Zika virus that is still prominent in Brazil.
Pregnant women, and women anticipating to become pregnant have been advised to avoid travel to Brazil until after giving birth.
A zika virus infection in a pregnant woman can pose significant risks to the unborn baby, even if the woman does not develop symptoms of infection. Zika virus can cause serious birth defects including abnormally small heads (microcephaly), brain abnormalities, vision and hearing loss, and more.
The Public Health Agency of Canada reports that there are currently still documented cases of Zika outbreak in Brazil.
For more information on travelling to Brazil, click here.
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