By Bruna Gama and Marcelo Cajueiro
RIO DE JANEIRO, July 6 (Xinhua) -- Brazil is set to double its annual tourist arrivals to 10 million by 2020, a tourism official told Xinhua on Friday.
Flavio Dino, president of the Brazilian tourism institute Embratur, said the country, which will host the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics, is striving to become more attractive to overseas travelers.
Last year, despite the appreciation of the Brazilian currency real and the global economic crisis, Brazil received a record high of 5.4 million tourists.
Dino gave the credit to the country's tourism promotion efforts, infrastructure investments and favorable economic condition.
He said that Embratur will work even harder to attract more tourists to meet the 2020 target, adding that some 134 million reais (66 million U.S. dollars) will be invested this year.
Embratur will focus its efforts on 17 countries, sources of some 84 percent of the tourists entering Brazil every year, including countries from North and South America, and Europe.
"The world's top tourist destinations mostly benefit from tourists who travel short distances. That is why we are placing our bets on nearby markets, with a larger potential for growth," he said.
The promotion of the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games is already underway, Dino said, adding that Brazil will try to promote its culture and attractions during the upcoming London Olympic games.
"We have also been focusing on digital media to publicize Brazilian destinations," Dino said, adding "We have recently launched an iPhone app. which allows people to watch 360-degree videos of the main tourist attractions of the 2014 World Cup host cities."
As for business tourism, it is an area in which Brazil has seen significant growth recently.
According to the International Convention and Congress Association (ICCA), the country has risen to the 7th in 2011 from the 19th in 2003 in terms of the number of international business events a country hosts annually.
Dino added that 304 international business events were held in Brazil last year.
"The most positive thing about business tourism is that those events usually take place in the low season, maintaining a regular flow of arrivals in periods when the arrival of vacationers is low," he said.