No Zika, no violence, no infections in Guanabara Bay, no claims of supposed transport chaos, nor even a lack of information. To the desperation of those who spent months whispering negative messages in the ears of those responsible for the dissemination of news around the world - in particular the large TV networks who thrive off hard news - the Rio 2016 Olympic Games comes to an end with an extremely positive balance of news. Just as what happened with the 2014 FIFA World Cup, those who mistrusted, those who raised legitimate doubts, those who hid behind prejudices or those who were dismissive, are now giving praise, saying that everything around Rio 2016 was "wonderful", "very beautiful" and "charming."
A survey that interviewed 1,262 foreign tourists across Rio de Janeiro during the Olympic Games, carried out by the Institute for Economic Research (FIPE) at the request of the Ministry of Tourism, showed that 87.7% of those interviewed intend to return to the Cariocan capital, as Rio de Janeiro is known. This was just the first factual confirmation of a perception that can already be felt in the air of the 'beautiful city'. This perception was felt by all of us who lived through the intense and marvellous days of the Games, as was also surely captured for the billions of people who watched the images of the competitions around the world.
The Olympics was the latest of the large international events that have been held in Brazil since 2007. The cycle began with the Pan-American Games, followed by Rio +20, the World Military Games, Catholic World Youth Day, the Confederations Cup, the FIFA World Cup and now the Olympic and Paralympic Games. In the aftermath of the Games, we can say with certainty that besides being the country with the greatest potential in natural beauty and the eighth ranked country for potential in cultural wealth (according to the World Economic Forum), Brazil is in the vanguard for holding large events.
Our young democracy recently went through a period of turbulence, but has found its way out the other side. Our economy has also experienced difficulties. But it would be intellectually dishonest not to contextualise this. Less than 30 years ago, we were a totally closed economy, we were living under a military dictatorship and Brazil had little contact with international trade. But today we are one of the 10 largest economies in the world, with a robust internal market and solid advances in the reduction of social inequality.
Even from the perspective of an adverse scenario, we held these events and created legacies at all levels. Both we and the rest of the world know that we passed the test. What matters now is that we make the most of the visibility achieved and transform it into numbers. It is necessary to increase, and greatly so, the foreign presence in Brazil. We should maintain this world interest in Brazil in order to increase our foreign currency revenue.
Tourism, which drives 53 segments of the economy, is the sector which can bring the most rapid response at this time of growth recovery. The structure is there, the know-how is more than proven. From here on in, it is up to us to establish the agenda of the current government to improve the business environment in Brazil. This will attract international investment, leverage resources and promote with greater determination than ever that Brazil is home to great beauty and diversity.