Photo: Brazilian Tourists Shopping in U.S.
The United States is now witnessing a turn of the tables as many Brazilians come here for the latest shopping deals. In 2010, according to statistics, Brazilians spent $5.9 billion in the United States and as a result, spend more than any other international tourist spending an average $5,400 per person. Return flights to Brazil from the United States on the top Brazilian airline, TAM, have had to increase the amount of fuel carried on the flight due to an increase in overweight baggage among passengers.
Unniverson Liborio, a Brazilian born chef, based in New York, arrived recently in Rio de Janiero with his suitcases bursting with gifts for his grandchildren. The 60 year old, traveled with close to 700 disposable diapers, a Barbie mansion, as well as several baby onesies. “I got this all for maybe $300 total. In Brazil, I couldn’t have bought even half the diapers for the same price and forget about everything else,” stated Librorio.
Liborio is not the only Brazilian shopping for deals in the United States. Aristoteles Guimaraes, was spotted at a mall in Miami shopping for the upcoming arrival of his new baby. Although his wife, currently seven months pregnant, stayed behind in Brazil, Guimaraes stocked up on many baby supplies while staying under his $4,000 budget. “I came exclusively to buy things for my baby. I came to buy everything. Things here cost on average one third of what they would in Brazil,” stated the 36 year old father to be. Among his shopping deals was an Italian baby stroller, which in Brazil would have cost $1,300. Here he purchased it for $350.
As a result of the influx of Brazilian shoppers, President Barack Obama has requested the State Department to speed up the visa application process for tourists coming from Brazil as well as China and other nations looking to spend money in the U.S. In 2010, the U.S. granted 546,866 visas to Brazilian tourists. This figure has more than doubled over the past decade. Although numbers from 2011 have yet to be released, the Embassy of the United States in Brazil is estimating that at least 1 million visas were granted in 2011.
Fernando Mello, just returned home from his shopping vacation in South Florida. He states, “We left with nothing, just a piece of hand luggage. We go to the U.S. once a year, stay in great hotels, have a fantastic holiday and shop till we drop and it’s still cheaper than shopping in Brazil. It’s a no brainer.”