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Early January 2017: Spain, Israel, Cuba, Brazil, Mexico, and India - Tourism highlights in 2016.

In 2016, Spain welcomed 75 million foreign visitors - an increase of 10% from 2015 -, making it the third most visited country in the world after France and United States.

With more than 4 million foreign visitors in 2016 (+ 6% compared to 2015), tourism in Cuba reached a new record and could still grow further in 2017. Visitors to Cuba come mainly from North America (even if several legal restrictions in the United States have not yet been removed) and Europe.

In Israel, unlike most of the other countries in the Middle East, the amount of foreign visitors rose by 3.6% in 2016, to a record of 2.9 million visitors. The rise is related to an increase and a redevelopment of the budget for the promotion of tourism in Israel. Visitors to Israel come mainly from the United States, Russia and Western Europe. Israel has also sought to attract tourists from India and China.

In 2016, 6.6 million foreign travelers visited Brazil. That is an increase of 4.8% from 2015. The increase would be due in a large part to the Olympic and Paralympic Games which took place in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.

With 9 million foreign visitors, tourism in India increased by 11% in 2016. The increase was much stronger than expected.

Mexico welcomed 35 million foreign visitors (of which 40% from the United States) in 2016, an increase of 9% compared to 2015.

In 2016, Japan received a record amount of foreign visitors: 24 million (including 11 million from China and South Korea), an increase of 21% from 2015.

June 6, 2016:
Brazil - Tramway in Rio de Janeiro.

About two months before the opening of the Olympic Games, the first line of a new light tramway network (VLT) has been inaugurated in Rio de Janeiro. The tramway connects downtown Rio and the neighborhoods of the port to Santos Dumont Airport (the second airport of Rio) on a 28 km long itinerary.

On the other hand, the line 4 of Rio metro which will connect the districts of Copacabana and Ipanema to the area of the Olympic Games in Barra da Tijuca will be inaugurated on 1 August, only 4 days before the opening of the Games. The interim President of Brazil promised to grant the federal funds necessary to complete the line.

May 1, 2016: South America - LATAM Airlines.

Already completed legally since 2012, the merger of the Chilean airline LAN and the Brazilian airline TAM becomes effective commercially as from May 2016. The aircrafts and the check-in counters of both airlines are renamed to the common trademark LATAM airlines. A web site is under construction. LATAM is by far the largest airline of South America.

February 1, 2016: Brazil and other countries - Zika virus alert.

Several countries in the world are currently affected by the Zika virus. Zika is a virus that was detected for the first time in 1947 in monkeys and in 1952 in humans in Uganda. Since 2015, Zika has been found in populations of many countries where it was unknown previously: especially in Latin America (among others, in Brazil where 1.5 million have already been infected by the virus and in Colombia where three fatal cases have just been identified), in the Caribbean and in Thailand. Zika virus will continue to spread. See here the list of the countries which have been infected with Zika virus. 

Zika virus is mostly transmitted to people through mosquito bites (Aedes aegypti mosquitoes). It may be spread through sexual transmission too. The Zika disease, the symptoms of which are similar to those of dengue fever, is suspected to have caused cases of microcephaly or other neurological disorders of newborns. Concerned travelers and particularly pregnant women are recommended to take all necessary prophylactic measures and, when appropriate, to change or cancel any travel plan. Follow carefully the recommendations of the authorities of your country. 

On February 1, 2016, the World Health Organization stated that the disease caused by Zika virus constitutes a public health emergency of international concern.

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