Freixo: Brazil-Portugal connection is attractive for tourism – 04/03/2024 – José Manuel Diogo

Freixo: Brazil-Portugal connection is attractive for tourism – 04/03/2024 – José Manuel Diogo


Listening to Marcelo Freixo, the first question arises immediately. “How do you talk so fast?” He responds with a wide smile: “I speak 180 words per minute. I drove stenographers to the brink of madness.” Then I replied: “American President Kennedy spoke only 160, you are the fastest.”

Freixo breathes politics. Known for his work in defense of human rights and his fight against violence and militias, especially in Rio de Janeiro, today as president of Embratur he uses his experience and talent promoting Brazil as a global tourist destination.

Its involvement with sustainability, security and human rights, combined with its ability to communicate and articulate politics, can contribute to the development of ethical and innovative tourism, positioning Brazil in the “Ivy League” of the global tourism industry.

In an interview with the column, (available in full under the heading “People from there and from here”, on the Portugal-Brazil 200 years association channel) we heard, at the table of Restaurante Cícero, in the Portuguese capital, on the occasion of the Lisbon Tourism Exchange , his vision on the potential of tourism in Brazil, the importance of Portugal in this context and the challenges faced by the country to improve its image abroad.

As a political activist and human rights defender, did you find yourself in the world of tourism?
My arrival in tourism was an invitation from President Lula, to lead Embratur. Tourism is a sector that allows the generation of jobs, income and sustainability, and I see enormous potential in Brazil for this. It is an opportunity to positively work on issues that I have always defended, such as racial issues, women’s rights and environmental preservation.

Portugal is one of the main sources of tourists to Brazil. What strategies are being adopted to strengthen this relationship?
Portugal has a historical and emotional connection with Brazil, which is already a great attraction. We are working to promote the diversity of Brazilian tourism in Portugal, not just sun and beach, but also our culture, gastronomy and nature. Furthermore, we are seeking partnerships to facilitate tourist exchange between the two countries.

Brazil’s image abroad has suffered in recent years. How is Embratur working to reverse this situation?
We are using the phrase “Brazil is back” to show the world a country committed to democracy and sustainability. The improvement in Brazil’s image can already be seen with the country’s return to the rankings of ecotourism destinations and the increase in revenue from international tourism.

Security is a frequent concern for tourists. How are you approaching this issue?
Although Brazil has security challenges, tourist destinations tend to be safer. Furthermore, we are working to make tourism part of the solution, generating opportunities and improving the quality of life in communities.

Brazilian cuisine is rich and diverse. How is it being used to attract tourists?
We are promoting Brazilian gastronomy as one of the country’s main attractions. From north to south, we have an incredible variety of dishes that reflect our culture and history. We are even competing to be the largest gastronomy destination in Latin America.

Embratur is using data intelligence to improve the promotion of Brazilian tourism, this is an approach that breaks with the past…
We entered into a partnership with the University of São Paulo to professionalize our management and use data intelligence. This allows us to better understand the profiles of tourists, their interests and fears, and thus create more effective and targeted campaigns.

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