Discover the Roots of Brazil

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Minas Gerais, Brazil, is an Up-and-Coming Location for Travelers to Discover the South American Country's True Gems

This, combined with the increased tourism to Brazil, give us the perfect platform for encouraging Americans to visit our state. From gemstones to numerous national parks, Minas boasts several unique destinations we want to share with the world.

The numbers don't lie - Brazil is a South American country on the rise for tourism. The reported tourist spending in 2008 amounted to a 16.8 percent increase over 2007 and set a historical record for international tourism revenue in Brazil's history. In 2008, international tourism in Brazil more than doubled the world average of 7 percent, according to the World Tourism Organization.

One of the contributing factors to this growth of travel to Brazil is the increase in the number of direct flights to various Brazilian states, one being Minas Gerais. In November 2008, American Airlines began daily Miami-Belo Horizonte flights. By the close of 2010, a total of 49 new, direct U.S. to Brazil flights will have be introduced.

"The new American Airlines direct daily flights are very exciting for the Minas Gerais Tourism Board. These flights help us raise awareness and interest in the wonderful state of Minas," says Daniel Marques of the Minas Tourism Board, "This, combined with the increased tourism to Brazil, give us the perfect platform for encouraging Americans to visit our state. From gemstones to numerous national parks, Minas boasts several unique destinations we want to share with the world."

In recent years, the government of Brazil, through Embratur, the Brazilian Tourism Board, has marketed the country via the Plano Aquarela. This International Tourist Marketing Strategy focuses promotions focus on five key areas: Sun & Beach, Ecotourism, Culture, Sports, and Business & Events. Each Brazilian state - especially Minas Gerais - has much to offer in these five areas:

Sun & Beach: Minas Gerais is a landlocked state in the southeast of Brazil, roughly the size of France. While Minas does not possess Brazil's well-known beaches, the destination does have other attractions in this category. For example, Minas is known for its mineral spa towns. These pristine water parks have been popular destinations for bathing, drinking and relaxation among Brazilians for more than a century.

Ecotourism: The state of Minas Gerais possesses numerous national parks that satisfy eco-tourists' desires. The most famous is The Parque Nacional Serra do Cipo, where one can enjoy majestic waterfalls, see wildlife, hike and horseback ride. The park's sprawling Canyon das Bandeirantes is an exquisite landscape and home to various bird species, as well as jaguars, wolves, anteaters and monkeys.

Culture: As an epicenter of culture and history, Minas Gerais has more unesco World Heritage sites than any other Brazilian state. One of the most famous historical sites in Minas is the Estrada Real, or "Royal Road." This road documents the exciting history of gold exploration in the country. In addition to gold, Brazil produces most of the world's gemstones, some of which are indigenous to Minas.

Sports: As in most of Brazil, soccer is the most popular sport in Minas. Belo Horizonte is home to Brazil's third largest stadium and two professional soccer teams. Beyond spectator sports, hiking and spelunking are popular among tourists in this region.

Business and Events: Belo Horizonte is the third largest city in Brazil, making it an ideal destination for meetings and events. With 2.5 million inhabitants, the infrastructure is modern and easy for business travelers. In addition, this city has more bars and coffee shops than any other city in Brazil, giving business travelers many rest and relaxation options.

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Elizabeth Tjaden
Ogilvy Public Relations
312-397-6065
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Eileen Earley
Ogilvy Public Relations
(312) 397-6063
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