Sergio Antonio Herrera

Mercosur Schengen, the pending issue

Sergio Antonio Herrera

Mercosur Schengen, the pending issue

In the interview to the national director of Tourism of Uruguay, Roque Baudean, we can see in this same edition that the hierarch makes a categorical definition about the Mercosur meetings stating that they are “a waste of time”. For more than three decades, this has been a recurrent opinion that reflects the full conviction of the different actors of the activity in the region. It is a blunt disqualification of the actions of the hundreds of members of the inefficient commissions of the bloc that have met -in view of the results-, “pour la galerie”.

So then? Perhaps we should all take this unappealable diagnosis as our banner and rebel, or not?

How long are we going to accept that in order to cross a land border in our region we have to endure unbelievable delays of hours and hours in environments that are not regularly prepared to provide minimum comfort services to the crowds that congregate there?

What is the reason why a “regional tourist bus” category has not yet been created, with units registered with special license plates indicating that they are qualified to transport different types of passengers, that is, to enter with a list of passengers and leave the country with another one, thus facilitating the operation of circuits as is done in Europe, for example, where the passenger may choose to buy segments of the different itineraries and not the whole of them?

When are we going to agree to grant the “Mercosur visa” to the extra-regional citizens who must apply for it and thus put an end to the unusual practice that some people, depending on their origin, must apply for it in several countries?

Has no one thought of a way to speed up customs and immigration procedures at land borders by using biometrics, as is being done at airports?


It is on the cover of all marketing books that tourists who undertake transoceanic trips do so mainly to visit several destinations. It is hard to believe that a Japanese, Korean or Chinese traveler arrives only to Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro or Asuncion.

As a bloc, beyond the past marketing blunders, we should try to sell “the Mercosur package”, shouldn't we?

Then, how can we propose attractive products in terms of duration, ease and attractiveness, if we cannot guarantee the free transit of goods and people and eliminate bureaucratic obstacles?

Forget the States

The regional TOURISM business associations should once and for all structure a plan similar to the one used by European tour operators, present it as a bloc to each of the Mercosur governments and start a progressive publicity campaign that will go through the stages of: a) disclosure, b) promotion, and as time goes by and, as we think, no resolutions are forthcoming, move on to c) claims: (a) disclosure, (b) promotion, and as time goes by and as we think, the resolutions do not appear, move on to (c) claim and if inaction persists, arrive at (d) and like it or not like it, move directly to publicly expose the sectors and officials who have not fulfilled their responsibility. All this time has shown that tourism can no longer wait for the political class if it wants a Mercosur somehow similar to the Schengen Area.

The Schengen Area

It aims to allow residents of the European Union (EU) to travel across the internal borders of its member countries without having to pass controls or show their passports."

Any person, regardless of nationality, will be able to cross the borders of Schengen member countries without having to pass through controls.

Less paperwork. Under current legislation, the agreement requires only the National Identity Document (DNI) to be able to leave and return to and from Schengen countries, which translates into time savings and greater practicality for travel and enjoyment.

Schengen involves cooperation between member countries that supports cultural exchange while achieving better relations. Thanks to this, a common framework is established to ensure the security of European citizens and institutions.


The Schengen area has become essential for migration and a model to be followed by the rest of the countries in the world due to the more humane treatment it offers at borders.

It saves time, exchanges knowledge, develops new business models and fosters transnational relations. According to European Commission data, 3.5 million people cross the internal borders of the Schengen area every day, and thanks to the agreement, waiting time at border controls will be reduced and transfers between member countries will be encouraged. Greater police cooperation and the strengthening of human rights. With this, Europe guarantees freedom of mobility, citizens' trust in Europe and cross-border solidarity.

Author: Sergio Antonio Herrera

Director of PDA Media & Consulting, of the Portal of America

The authors are responsible for the choice and presentation of the facts contained in this document and for the opinions expressed therein, which are not necessarily those of Tourism and Society Think Tank and do not commit the Organization, and should not be attributed to TSTT or its members.

This site uses cookies from Google to deliver its services and to analyze traffic. Information about your use of this site is shared with Google. By using this site, you agree to its use of cookies.