JacTravel, the UK-based B2B wholesaler best known for its extensive range of hotels online and inbound travel services, is reporting an exceptional period of growth in tourism from Brazil to the United States in the wake of visa reforms by the US government, in a report to be released on the first day of the inaugural World Travel Market Latin America.
In the past year JacTravel’s Brazilian bookings to the US have more than doubled, 127% up by value and 112% up by number of bookings, the company will tell delegates at WTM Latin America, which is taking place at the Transamerica Expocenter, Sao Paulo, Brazil (23-25 April).
JacTravel puts this surge in growth down to measures taken by the US government to speed up visa processing. Until early 2012 visas could only be issued by the four US consulates in Brazil and the waiting time was 100 days. However, since March 2012, in order to speed things up, the US State Department added processing staff and opened new offices. Results have been immediate and dramatic. Waiting times have virtually evaporated – down to just a week or even a couple of days in some places – and demand for US tourist visas has increased more than 60% in a few months.
WTM Latin America, a Reed Travel Exhibitions event, has been launched to tap in to the growing demand of Latin Americans to visit the world and for the world’s tourists to visit Latin America.
JacTravel sees participation at the new event as a key business development initiative. It is aggressively sourcing hotel accommodation in the USA and in Latin America to meet the demand. During the coming year, it will increase its ‘American product’ from 1220 to 1600 directly contracted hotels, with a focus on major US and Canadian cities, as well as Brazil, Argentina and Mexico.The Brazilian government is lobbying the US government in order to include Brazil in the Visa Waiver Program. President Dilma Roussef and Barack Obama had a meeting last year about this subject and talks are still ongoing.