With the ever growing alignment between Brazil and China, both economically and politically, tourism between the two countries is expected to continue thriving in the years to come. Thus, in this article we will take a closer look at Chinese tourism in Brazil.
How to get to Brazil - flight operators
There are no direct flights from China to Brazil but several airlines fly from China to Brazil via a third country, the majority of flights connect in Shanghai and Beijing however they can also connect in Hong Kong and Guangzhou. Flights arrive in just two Brazilian cities- São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. These are the flight operators that fly from China to Brazil:
- Air Canada
- Air China
- Air France
- American Airlines
- British Airways
- Delta Airlines
- Emirates Airlines
- Ethiopian Airlines
- Etihad Airways
- KLM Royal Dutch Airlines
- Qatar Airlines
- Singapore Airlines
- South African Airways
- SWISS International Airlines
- Turkish Airlines
- United Airlines
According to Qyer.com, a popular Chinese travel website, the most popular locations in Brazil for Chinese tourists are São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. Apart from Brazil’s two most well known cities, the following cities are also popular with Chinese tourists:
- Cataratas do Iguaçú
- Amazon River
Figures show that Brazil should be interested in increasing the number of Chinese tourists coming to the country. In 2013, tourists from China spent more money abroad than tourists from any other country. Over 83 million Chinese tourists spent USD 102 billion on international travel.
Brazil participating in the 2013 World Trade Fair in Shanghai helped increase the number of Chinese tourists coming to the country. International advertising of other events hosted by Brazil, such as the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the upcoming 2016 Rio Olympics, are also helping to attract Chinese tourists.
In 2014, 60.140 Chinese tourists came to Brazil, a growth of 62,9% when compared to 2010. Instituto Brasileiro de Turismo (Embratur, or Brazilian Tourism Institute) estimates that Chinese tourism will continue to grow in the next few years, despite it being a long-haul destination.
Brazil is the favorite destination in Latin America for Chinese tourists, and is positioned 18th in global rankings. One of the main attractions for the Chinese to visit Brazil is Business and International Trade Shows: in 2012, Brazil hosted over 360 international events, many of them with direct participation from Chinese companies.
A survey made by the online booking agency Hoteis.com showed that only 43% of Chinese tourists came to Brazil for leisure purposes. Besides the abundance of international events in Brazil and the growing display of tourist attractions, the increase in the number of Chinese companies based in the country can also be used to explain the growth of Chinese tourism.
Regulation of tourism
Any country wanting to receive Chinese tourists must sign a Memorandum of Understanding in the area of Tourism with the Chinese government, who will then proceed to grant the country the status of “Approved Destination Status”. The Memorandum of Understanding also states that only accredited travel and tourism agencies are authorized to receive Chinese tourists in Brazil.
In December 2013, 23 Brazilian travel and tourism agencies were authorized to receive Chinese tourists for a period of one year. They were:
- Amazonas Viagens e Turismo LTDA
- Aniyami Turismo
- Bela Costa Agência de Viagens e Turismo
- Bit Tourism; Brasil Mogno Turismo Ltda-ME
- Casablanca Turismo; China Trip Viagens e Turismo
- Clipper Viagens e Turismo
- Evelyn's Turismo
- Fellini Turismo
- Laranjeiras Turismo LTDA
- Latinsina Turismo
- Mandarin Travel
- Martin Travel
- Orion Travel & Transports LTDA
- SASPlus Operadora
- The Travel Shop Turismo e Viagens Ltda
- Twinstar Travel
- Yongle Transportadora Turística
- Via KF - Agenciamento de Viagens
- Voetur Turismo
Visa to enter Brazil
The Brazilian government offers several types of visas for those travelling to Brazil, but one in particular - the VITUR - is specifically for tourists. Applying for a VITUR costs RMB 170 (170 Renminbi, China’s official currency) and grants permission to stay in Brazil for 90 days. It is possible to extend this period for another 90 days every year.
Who is eligible to apply for a VITUR?
Individuals eligible to apply for a VITUR are:
- Tourists travelling for leisure or to visit friends or relatives
- Attendees and/or unpaid speakers in conferences and seminars. An invitation letter from the sponsoring organization in Brazil is required. If the applicant is participating in a trade show, the VITEM II visa is required. If the applicant will be receiving an honorarium for giving a lecture, the VITEM I is required
- Unpaid participants taking part in athletic, artistic events or competitions. If the event charges an admission fee or if the athletes/artist will be receiving payment to participate in the event, the VITEM III visa is required
Requirements to apply for a VITUR
Tourist visa applications must be accompanied by the following documents at the time the visa application is submitted to the Brazilian Consulate:
- Applicant's Passport, valid until the date of departure from Brazil, with at least two blank pages left
- Printed VITUR application form, submitted online and duly signed by the passport holder (or parents/legal guardian of a minor), with the photo attached.
- Recent 2”x2” photograph
- Travel itinerary
- Copy of the applicant's round-trip ticket, booked itinerary or letter from a travel agent under the applicant’s name with complete itinerary, flight number, as well as arrival/departure dates and reservation code provided by the airline company.
- If the applicant is going to attend an event such as a conference or a tournament in Brazil, an Invitation Letter must also be submitted, providing information about the event and the terms of the applicant’s participation in it
- Deposit certificate stating that the Visa fee was paid
As long as tourists have acquired the VITUR and have a regular passport of the People’s Republic of China, they do not need any visa or authorization to leave China.We would like to thank Daxue Consulting and Olivier Vérot's blog for the background information to this article.