Brazil has lifted its visa requirement for Canadians to encourage sports fans to travel to the Rio Olympics.
As well as Canada, the Brazilian government also granted the privilege to tourists from Australia, Japan and the US for the mega sports event, which starts on August 5th.
From now until September 18th, tourists travelling to Brazil from any of the four countries will not require a visa.
Brazil’s tourism ministry described the quartet as countries with a good market, strong Olympic interest and low security risk.
Tourism Minister Henrique Eduardo Alves said maximising tourist numbers for the Olympics would not only boost the Brazilian economy in the short term, but if the country did its job properly, many of those seeing Brazil for the first time would return in the future.
The Public Health Agency of Canada currently has a travel warning in place for Brazil because of the outbreak of the Zika virus.
There have even been calls for the Olympics to be delayed or moved because of the health risks to travellers.
Canada’s health watchdog advises pregnant women to stay away from the country, given the virus causes microcephaly (abnormally small head) in newborn babies. It also causes Guillian-Barre Syndrome, a neurological disorder.
The advisory says special precaution should be taken to avoid mosquito bites, and that the virus can persist in women for two months and men for six months.
Public Health Agency advice for travellers to Brazil is available here.
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