Welcoming the Brazilian Invasion

Brazilian tourists take photos in front of the Statue of Liberty in New York

As the Brazilian economy has surged, overtaking the UK to become the world’s 6th largest, the U.S is playing host to an invasion of Brazilian tourists, shopping for homes and consumer goods alike.

The U.S. State Department says that the number of Brazilians who requested travel visas to the US in 2010 rose by 42% compared to 2010.

The Department processed a record 820,000 visa applications at its mission in Brazil last year, says a statement posted on State Department’s website.

As Brazilians’ personal wealth has grown, tied with a strong currency, they have helped to fuel a property recovery in Miami, buying condos in significant numbers.

Bloomberg notes,

Surging real estate prices in Brazil and the currency’s 45 percent gain against the U.S. dollar since 2008 are sending Brazilians to South Florida in search of bargain vacation homes and property investments. That’s helping bolster Miami’s condo market, with total sales increasing 79 percent in the first five months of 2011 from a year earlier…

In 2010, Brazilian visitors spent $1.63 billion in New York City, more than the $1.42 billion spent by tourists from the U.K., the $1.27 billion spent by Canadians and the $1.1 billion spent by Italians, according to the NYC & Co., the city’s tourism board.

To handle the rising embassy traffic, the State Department has moved new temporary employees to US Embassy in Brasilia and to US Consulates in Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, and Recife cities until permanent ones can be sent in.

Wall Street Journal in an article on December 21, described Brazilians as the big spenders in the US during this shopping season.  “Armed with a strong currency, easier access to credit and abundant enthusiasm for shopping, Brazilians have quietly ousted richer nations, such as the UK,” wrote WSJ.  A major target city for shopping travelers is New York City the paper reports.

  • Tim

    So now we’re selling all our stuff to pay for our trade and current account deficits?  Soon it’ll be the family jewelry..