Embratur, beaches of Rio, Minas Gerais, domestic tourism, Janeiro
Tourism brings in substantial foreign exchange. Brazilís increased affluence and improved transportation facilities have greatly increased tourist activity. In 2000, 5.3 million tourists entered Brazil. South America is the major source, followed by Europe and North America. The leading individual countries are Argentina, Uruguay, the United States, Paraguay, and Germany. Major tourist attractions are the beaches of Rio de Janeiro, the historic cities of Bahia and Minas Gerais, and natural formations such as the waterfall at Iguacu. The yearly Carnival festival in Rio de Janeiro also attracts large numbers of tourists. In recent years the beaches of the Northeast have become important attractions, and the rain forest has begun to attract ecological tourism.
In the early 1990s the volume of visitors fell because of press reports of crime in cities such as Rio de Janeiro and Salvador. However, foreign tour operators recognized Brazilís potential, and the government began to stimulate the industry. In 1992 the government tourist agency, Embratur, began to improve the infrastructure for tourism, particularly hotels and transport, and sought to increase the marketing of Brazil overseas. In addition to overseas tourism, rising prosperity within Brazil has also stimulated domestic tourism.
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