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Red tape and infrastructure: Brazil, India, Nigeria and Russias real roadb...

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Red tape and infrastructure: Brazil, India, Nigeria and


Russias real roadblocks to tourism
Tiffany Misrahi and John Moavenzadeh

Author alerts

Sep 21 13:10 Comment

Tourists steer clear of Brazil, Russia,


India and Nigeria because of onerous
visa requirements, EM Squared reported
last week. But even with easy tourist
visas in place, these emerging market
giants wont reach their full potential.
The real key lies in enhancing the ease of
doing business and developing adequate
infrastructure.
Visa policies are certainly a real barrier
to tourist arrivals. No matter how
beautiful or intriguing your country is as a tourist destination, if you make it too complicated for
tourists to visit, they will stay away. That problem is not limited to emerging markets. A few years
ago, US Travel Association estimated that the US lost the equivalent of 467,000 jobs due to the
difficulty for citizens of primarily Brazil, India and China to obtain a visa.
Still, visa policies are only a piece of the puzzle. In the World Economic Forums recent Travel and
Tourism Competitiveness Report, International Openness a measure of how easy it is for
tourists to visit a country was one of 14 studied pillars. A countrys enabling environment for
doing business, price competitiveness, infrastructure and natural and cultural resources are others
factors that were weighted and which mattered.
In the 2015 edition of the report, Brazil came in 28thplace globally, followed by Russia (45th),
India (52nd) and Nigeria (131st). The significant disparities in these countries rankings make it
clear that reforming stringent visa policies is unlikely to be a panacea but rather a key component
of a wider set of policy shifts needed. What are they?
Brazil, for starters, should work on its business environment. Despite its vast array of tourism
hotspots, the country of carnival, the Amazon rainforest and Copacabana only welcomed 6.3m
international tourists in 2014, while Mexicos arrivals amounted to 32m. In the past, one reason for

9/21/2016 7:46 PM

Red tape and infrastructure: Brazil, India, Nigeria and Russias real roadb...

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http://blogs.ft.com/beyond-brics/2016/09/21/red-tape-and-infrastructure-b...

that may have been the lack of adequate infrastructure. However, in recent years, in preparation
for the football World Cup and Olympics, significant progress and investment has been made on
air transport infrastructure and connectivity.
The real challenges hindering Brazils travel and tourism industry today thus lies in its restrictive
business environment. Its red tape in the construction sector and high taxation rates make it hard
for the tourism sector to develop adequate infrastructure. A second issue it needs to address is
safety and security. Both its crime rates and currently the fear of the spread of the Zika virus
remain issues that scare tourists away even if a visa is within reach.
Like Brazil, Indias international arrivals fall short of its potential, with only 8m international
tourists visiting the country in 2015, compared to Chinas 55m. In addition to its incredible scenery
and unique heritage and monuments, India is extremely price competitive compared to other
destinations. In the past years, under Prime Minister Narendra Modis leadership, India has made
significant changes in its visa policies which are starting to bear fruit.
Yet, anyone who has visited India will agree, that infrastructure gaps are a real challenge, ranging
from accommodation availability to the quality of roads. The issue of environmental sustainability
must also be addressed to ensure the preservation of Indias natural heritage. Tourists and
business leaders alike will also speak to the need to tackle health and hygiene issues, including
pollution, information and communications technology readiness, and safety and security.
Unlike Brazil and India, Russia welcomed more than 31m international visitors in 2015, a solid
performance. The nations strong cultural resources and price competitiveness have attracted
tourists despite the stringent visa restrictions and lack of prioritisation of the sector. Russia should
continue building on its strengths, notably in air transport infrastructure and health and hygiene.
Still, key challenges relating to safety and security, environmental sustainability and the overall
environment for doing business need to be addressed.
Nigerias travel and tourism industry, finally, has been a real missed opportunity to date. In 2013,
Nigeria welcomed 600,000 international visitors, with the industry only accounting for 1.5 per
cent of gross domestic product. Yet, significant challenges constrain the potential development of
the sector in Nigeria, starting with safety and security, which arguably remain the highest priority.
Nigerian business leaders consider the lack of infrastructure as the most problematic factor for
doing business. While specific issues relating to travel and tourism remain, including the
prioritisation of the sector, visa policies and price competitiveness; addressing the complex issues
of security and infrastructure should be prioritised not only for the industrys competitiveness but
also to ensure Nigerias development path.
While visa restrictions are barriers to the travel and tourism industrys potential in these four
nations, it is the overall business environment and infrastructure gaps which are truly hindering
the sectors development and these nations overall competitiveness.

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These issues may superficially not seem related to the tourism industry but have a significant
impact on its development. There is a clear need for a systemic and coordinated approach to
achieve competitiveness for the sector and beyond.
Tiffany Misrahi is community lead for the aviation and travel industry, and John Moavenzadeh
head of the mobility industry team at the World Economic Forum.
Tags: Brazil tourism, India tourism, Russia tourism, tourism, travel, Visas
Posted in Asia, Brazil, Global, India, Latin America and the Caribbean, Nigeria, Russia, Sub-Saharan Africa | Permalink

9/21/2016 7:46 PM