US travelers flock to Brazil as EU takes notice

Written by Staff Writer, CNN

Tourists visiting Brazil have turned their attention away from Europe, snapping up tourist visas on the South American country’s shores just six months after visiting Europe for the first time.

American tourism chief Mark Duke told AFP he is hearing from US travelers that they’re finding it more difficult to get a visa than their European counterparts.

Brazil attracted 4.3 million tourists in 2015, and it expects that figure to double by 2025 — but several states in the country have been placed on the watch list for corruption.

Number of American travellers to Brazil goes up

The country still faces a “high level of corruption,” Duke said, which is the reason the number of Americans visiting there is not higher.

However, he added that Brazil has been making progress in recent years in curbing corruption in the tourism sector.

UK among countries with shorter visa application times

The encouraging trend comes from a number of places across the world, including the United Kingdom, Mexico and Italy, Duke told AFP.

Data from the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) showed that tourism to the US received a 9% rise in 2016, and in 2016, it contributed $674 billion to the global economy — more than a third of which came from international tourism.

Middle East tourists are still worried by terrorism fears

But a report from WTTC forecasts that international tourism could recover some of its lost growth as 2016’s terrorist attacks on the French and Spanish capitals — as well as Orlando, Florida — see tourism spending grow by 2.3% between 2017 and 2020.

Hotel prices will rise in 2017 as supply is not keeping up with demand, the report says.

Tourism spending is expected to grow by 2.3% in 2017, with 3.2% in 2018, the WTTC predicts.

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