The Prime Minister of Spain, José Luiz Zapatero, disembarked yesterday in BrasÀlia to pay his first official visit to Latin America. Zapatero, who won election last March for the Spanish Socialist Workers Party, held a work meeting today with Brazil’s President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.
Zapatero also visited the Chamber of Deputies, the Senate, and the Federal Supreme Court.
At the work meeting with Lula, the two countries signed a strategic cooperation agreement. Agreements were also signed in the areas of tourism, agriculture, education, and the Kyoto Protocol’s clean development mechanism.
In the tourism sector, two agreements were signed. One of them provides for the Spanish government’s concession of technology for the implantation of a tourist information central in Brazil.
With the central, tourists from anywhere in the world will be able to put together their own Brazilian travel package.
The technology granted by the Spaniards will also permit the digital inclusion of micro and small tourism firms – which account for 95% of this sector in Brazil.
The second agreement deals with collaboration between the two countries in five areas: tourism statistics, promotion and marketing, training, cooperation for development in tourism affairs, and quality and certification.
According to the Ministry of Tourism, Spanish groups are expected to invest US$ 74 million (R$ 200 million) in Northeastern Brazil by 2007.
The IberoStar Hotel & Resorts company alone plans to spend US$ 30 million to build three hotel ships that will navigate the Rio Negro, in the Amazon. The first ship will commence operations in a month.
Zapatero will leave for São Paulo today, where he will inaugurate the new headquarters of the Spanish consulate and meet with Governor Geraldo Alckmin and Brazilian entrepreneurs. The Spanish Prime Minister will remain in Brazil through January 25.
Translation: David Silberstein
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