Foreigners will continue to spend money in Florida and boost real estate prices

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Foreign Buyers love Florida real estate and they should. We have the best of all worlds here in South and Southwest Florida. The following is an article recently published in the Sun Sentinel about the United States slashing the Visa wait times for Brazilians.

Polish up on your Portuguese: More high-spending Brazilians are visiting South Florida, now that it takes weeks instead of months to get their U.S. visa applications.

The U.S. State Department has added staff at U.S. consulates across Brazil, cutting the average wait times for interviews for U.S. visa applications to less than two weeks in most Brazilian cities. The wait often topped 100 days in 2010, discouraging some travelers, officials said.

South Florida’s tourism leaders have been lobbying for the extra staff, eager to attract more Brazilians, who tend to stay longer, shop more and spend more than other visitors to the area.

Even with the visa backlog, Brazilians last year became the second largest group of international visitors to Florida, trailing only Canadians. More than 1.4 million Brazilians visited the state, up a whopping 38 percent from the previous year. They spent more than $2.2 billion in Florida, up by 50 percent from a year earlier, according to the state’s tourism marketing agency Visit Florida

This year, the number of Brazilians visiting Florida is expected to rise by double-digits again, thanks to the faster visa processing and steady growth in Brazil, travel leaders said. Brazil — with nearly 200 million residents — recently overtook the United Kingdom to become the world’s sixth largest economy.

Miami serves as the top U.S. gateway for Brazilian travelers. Last year, Brazilian visitors spent more than $1 billion in Miami-Dade County, the first international group to do so. Broward County estimates 450,000 Brazilian visitors came north to stay overnight in the county, up 50 percent from the year before.

To tap that growing market, the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention and Visitors Bureau is looking to hire its first representative based in Brazil to promote tourism to Broward County, said Bureau President Nicki Grossman. “What we’ve done before was out of our Fort Lauderdale office,” she said.

Palm Beach County’s tourism bureau also is boosting Brazil promotions from its West Palm Beach office this year, taking part in more trade shows, said Bureau President Jorge Pesquera.

As a Remax agent I would love to show you the great gated communities and area that we call home here in Southwest Florida. If you are looking for a second home in Naples, Fort Myers, Estero, Bonita Springs or Cape Coral I can help you find the best second home for your needs. Search the MLS from my site and contact me with any questions. Parlo Italiano.

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