Bye-bye passports between Brazil & Colombia

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Passports are no longer needed between Brazilians and Colombians traveling to each others countries. Also, yellow fever vaccinations are no longer need for those coming from Colombia. The new rules took effect at the beginning of May, 2009 yet were only divulged publicly on Tuesday by the Tourism Minister, Luis Barreto while in Bogotá. He made the trip mainly to promote the Discover Brazil Committee, which has created tourism incentives among travel agencies and airlines since 2004.

The declaration also acts as a means to jump-start tourism to Brazil from other South American countries in order to keep the economy strong and as a way to replace possible declines in tourism coming from Europe and the US. In the last year alone, Brazil has doubled its investment ($225,000 in 2009) within Colombia to promote itself as a great place to vacation.

According to a 2007 study by Embratur, 45,000 Colombians visited Brazil that year as opposed to the roughly 7,000 Brazilians which made the trip to Colombia. In an effort to turn the tides a bit, Brazilian tour operator CVC trained Brazilian tour agents from both Manaus and Belém on how to market Colombia to those travelling through the North of Brazil. More specifically, the island of San Andrés and the city of Cartagena will be highlighted in the brochures.

Source (in PT)

My Take

I’m very pleased to see some effort being put into cross-cultural interactions as out of all the Colombians I’ve ever met, and I’ve met a lot, none take much (if any) interest in their giant neighbor to the Southeast. My only guess as to why is that their countries are seen as somewhat similar therefore Colombians would rather take interest with cultures other than that of Brazil. Having spent time in both places, I can honestly say there are great similarities yet there are an equal amount of differences which obviously, if never explored, will never be known.

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