TAMPA, Fla. (970 WFLA) - Holding up Brazilian money, Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn says that's what these international trade missions are all about.
"The opportunity to tell Tampa's story to the world...is important," said Buckhorn during a Monday news conference.
Buckhorn accompanied several dozen representatives of local businesses, the Chamber of Commerce, Tampa's convention and vistor's bureau and USF. They spent a week in the South American country, cultivating relationships.
Participants say the trip was vitally important because of the rise of the middle class in Brazil, which may produce more spending among Brazilians. They say there are already Brazilian companies doing business in Tampa, not to mention COPA Airlines, which begins direct service from Tampa to Brazil via Panama next month.
Rick Homans of the Tampa-Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation says the trip has produced millions of dollars' worth of potential contracts.
"We want to kind of grease the wheels in advance, make sure we are priming this relationship, priming that channel and opening it up for lots of activity."