Following the implementation of a new electronic visa program last fall, Brazil has reported record visitor spending for the month of January.

Brazil said international visitors spent $779 million in the country during January, only $14 million less than what international visitors spent during the month of the World Cup soccer tournament in 2014.

Brazil's electronic visa program made it cheaper and easier for citizens of Australia, Canada, Japan and the U.S. to travel to Brazil. They apply online with an estimated approval time of 72 hours. They are no longer required to visit a Brazilian consulate or visa center. And for Americans, the visa price dropped from $160 to $40.

Last month, Brazilian officials estimated that its new program would boost tourism from the U.S. by at least 25% and possibly as much as 50%.

In the last 30 days, nearly 15,000 visa applications were requested by U.S. citizens, an 87% increase from a year earlier.

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