For more than 40 days, the Rio Olympic and Paralympic Games exuded union, stamina, coexistence, passion and beauty to the whole world. Brazil charmed and made more than 7 billion spectators smile with its thrilling opening and closing ceremonies, and both inside and outside the sporting arenas. At the end of this period, it is clear that the Olympic spirit and the friendliness of the people of Rio de Janeiro (known as cariocas), shone out. But what stood out above all was Brazil's ability to overcome the challenges the country faced prior to the Games, including political and economic instability.
The image of Brazil that remains in the minds of the world is a country of vibrancy, with the ability to hold the largest event on the planet. It is also of a Brazil that made the most of the opportunity to accelerate public and private investments, with particular attention to infrastructure and urban mobility, which has driven the development of the country in recent years. The country is now preparing to transform this unprecedented exposure achieved abroad into national economic return.
We exceeded results from other editions of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, such as the number of sporting categories, athletes and delegations, participation of foreigners, ticket sales and audience figures. We will now endeavour to repeat the success of Barcelona whose Olympic Games in 1992, changed the course of its history, creating a new movement for the city, and even for the country (Spain), in terms of tourism, business, investment and the economy.
Brazil as a tourist destination, previously known predominantly for its beautiful beaches, diverse culture, gastronomy and natural resources, has also become a benchmark for having world potential in other segments, such as sports, events and business. And, as befits this moment, we want to be given due respect for who we are today as a country, with attention paid to the path we are following.
Embratur (Brazilian Tourism Institute) will continue working to present opportunities and amazing Brazilian destinations ready to receive foreign visitors, including those who have some form of disability or reduced mobility. Through thorough strategies in the markets, public relations activities, advertising and digital campaigns, we will seek to maintain our competitive position and consistently and securely evolve within the international tourist sphere.
In continuity with Embratur's promotional campaign slogan designed to attract international tourists to Brazil during Rio 2016, we say again to foreigners that "Brazil is open for you!". The VisitBrasil.com portal, a digital platform which shows off Brazil as a tourist destination abroad, a new version of which was launched during the Olympic Games, has taken on a strategic role in this challenge. Its content is drawn up based on the real life experiences of foreigners in tourist attractions in Brazil.
We have been committed to initiatives that brought immediate and effective results for Brazilian tourism, such as the visa waiver for citizens of countries with a strong Olympic tradition - a measure which showed itself to be extremely important during Rio 2016 - as well as looking to the template used by international organisations responsible for elevating their countries to leaders within the global market. Brazil is ever more open to this internationalisation, something which spurs us on to repeat our performance during the 2016 Olympics and make the world smile forever!