Illinois Governor Pat Quinn announced Thursday he’s taking a trip to Brazil on a trade mission to help strengthen exports and boost tourism in Illinois.
The governor has put quite a few stamps in his passport over the past years, including trips to Israel, China and Japan. According to Quinn's office, this trip is the first time an Illinois governor will lead a trade mission to Brazil.
"It’s so important that we have a close relationship with the people of Brazil," Quinn told reporters Thursday.
By the governor's numbers, Illinois exports to Brazil totaled $2.55 billion dollars in 2011, making it the state’s fifth-largest export market.
The governor has big plans for his trip: He’s dedicating a sister river between Illinois and Brazil, meeting with business leaders, and playing up Illinois as a tourist destination.
"Brazilian tourists are really growing by leaps and bounds, but they haven't been coming to the state of Illinois," Quinn said. "They've been going to places like Miami or others. We want to get them a little bit north and see the heartland of America."
The governor is scheduled to be in the South American country for six days.