Brazil recently approved an Open Skies agreement with the U.S. that has essentially been seven years in the making. This is great news for both the U.S. and Brazilian travel communities. It’ll mean lower airfares and increased tourism between our countries, and it’s a necessary step to help reverse a decline in travel from one of America’s highest-potential international inbound markets.
Growth in travel to the U.S. from Brazil exploded earlier this decade, and by 2014 it was our country’s third-largest overseas inbound market. About 25 percent of tickets sold by Brazilian travel agencies in 2017 were for U.S.-bound flights, according to data from the Brazilian Travel Agencies Association. Despite a sharp decline in arrivals from Brazil to the U.S. over the past two years, the U.S. remains by far the most sought-after outbound travel destination for Brazilians, and travel is America’s largest industry export to Brazil.
This bodes well for future travel to the U.S., since Open Skies agreements have a proven track record of spurring more visitors—and job growth here in America. Whenever international airlines add new flights to a U.S. city, it’s good for both the local economy and the U.S. economy as a whole. A recent U.S. Travel study found that Open Skies-induced travel from Qatar and the UAE alone found that in 2016, these flights brought nearly 1.7 million visitors to the U.S., who spent nearly $7.8 billion during their trips, supporting a total of 114,000 American jobs.
Given Brazil’s much larger share of international inbound travel to the U.S., the travel industry is feeling quite positive about the potential economic impact of new flights from the country for U.S. destinations.
We are glad that American and United Airlines are supportive of the new Open Skies agreement with Brazil. However, as I stated recently to Skift, it is unfortunate that their enthusiasm for Open Skies seems to depend on the country or airline the agreement is with.
The U.S. travel community is thrilled at the prospect of a new Open Skies agreement with Brazil, and knows it will lead to more flight options, lower fares and increased travel between the two countries, in addition to a host of other economic benefits for America. We can agree on that much with American and United.