President Obama visited the world's most popular theme park, Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom, to announce plans to encourage and facilitate more international tourism to the United States.
Requisite joke: "I'm excited to meet Mickey. It's always nice to meet a world leader who has bigger ears than me."
Obama's plan includes additional industry-funded marketing for U.S. destinations, including the Orlando theme parks, as well as expedited visa processing for visitors from China and Brazil. Obama also expressed a desire for Congress to add more countries to the list of nations whose visitors do not need visas to visit the United States, including Brazil.
Update: Legoland Florida wins the PR award for emailing the quickest response:
“This development is a major game-changer for Florida. An improved visa process helps us roll out the welcome mat to our friends in Brazil and will result in record numbers of young families visiting Florida.
Cost and convenience historically are two of the biggest barriers in travel. By addressing the hassle factor and making the visa process less onerous, we’ve just substantially improved our chance of attracting additional guests...
The fact that we’re already seeing large numbers from Latin America combined with today’s announcement is pushing us to seek out more Portuguese- and Spanish-speaking model citizens to better accommodate our guests from across this region.” - Adrian Jones, General Manager - LEGOLAND Florida
What's the PR equivalent of photobombing? :^) But Jones is right, making it easier for more people to visit Central Florida is nothing but good news for the area theme parks and the area economy. Get ready for more Brazilian tour groups*, everybody!
Update 2: *Or maybe not. See my point in the comments.Tweet
Unfortunately, he didn't say what the timeframe for this is.
Hear me out: If we remove the visa requirement for Brazilian tourists, it's logical to assume that the number of visitors from Brazil to the US will increase. While that might lead to initial increase in the cost of visiting as more people try to get on the same number of flights, eventually, airlines will add more flights, more Brazilians will become familiar with the trip and learn how to find deals, etc., and the average cost of visiting the US will come down.
With increased trade between the US and Brazil as a result of the visa requirement going away, standards of living in Brazil might rise, accelerating the growth of its middle class. That, coupled with price decreases, would mean more people could afford to make the trip.
Third, without a visa requirement, getting to the US becomes as simple as booking a trip. No more bureaucratic hassles. That eliminates one of the huge reasons for booking through a tour group - you'll no longer need a pro to help you through the process.
Add it all up, and under this scenario, it's quite likely that more Brazilian families would have the means and the ability to visit the US as a family, instead of only sending the kids through a tour group. (The family could afford the extra tickets, and wouldn't need the assistance of tour operators to get visas and make arrangements.) So, in the long run, we could see more Brazilian teens visiting, but under the guidance of their parents, instead lumped in with dozens of other teens in barely supervised tour groups.
Just me supposing here, but the scenario makes sense to me. What do you think?
Just my 2 cents. Written on my phone, please excuse any typos.
Tour operators in Brazil don’t help in the process to obtain an US Visa. The US Consulate requires personal presence of each one, even if it is someone, like me, that have already been 40 times to USA.
Most people that choose to go with a group do that because they don’t speak English.
Up to middle 2013 there will not be a significant increase in Brazilian visitors because no more flights US-Brazil will be allowed. After that date, there will be a significant increase in the number of flights, a process that will end after 5 years when a free skies agreement will begin. Then, market, not government, will determine the amount of flights.
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