Brazil president sanctions visa waiver for 2016 Olympics

Brasilia, Nov 26 (IANS) Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff has agreed to suspend visa requirements for foreigners during the 2016 Olympic Games in the city of Rio de Janeiro.

The “exceptional, unilateral visa waiver” is specifically aimed at citizens from countries and regions “with a strong Olympic tradition, which have hosted the Games in the past and pose no migration risk or national security risks, for the duration of the Olympics,” said Brazilian government in a statement on Wednesday, reports Xinhua.

The countries and regions that will benefit from this measure will be defined through a joint order of the ministries of tourism, justice and foreign affairs.

The waiver will not require people to prove that they possess the Games tickets and will only be given out to “nationals from specific countries”, according to the government.

Foreigners from the selected places who enter the South American country between June 1 and September 18, 2016, will be able to stay for up to 90 days without a visa.

The Olympic Games Rio 2016 will take place between August 5 and 21 while the Paralympic Games will be held between September 7 and 18.

It is hoped that the measure will increase the number of international tourists in the country between January and September 2016 by 20 percent, according to the tourism ministry’s calculations.

Tourism Minister Henrique Eduardo Alves said the measure would be very important for the tourism sector.

“The next step now is to prepare the joint order. Our proposal is to include the United States, Canada, Australia and Japan as they are countries with a strong Olympic tradition,” said Alves on Wednesday.

The tourism ministry’s calculations are based on studies carried out by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC).

The second organisation brings together major hotel chains and the world’s most important airlines.

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