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SBD Global/July 24, 2013/International Football

Brazil Sees Tourism Boost With 2014 World Cup, 2016 Rio De Janeiro Games Looming

With less than a year to go until the Brazil World Cup kicks off and just three years until Rio de Janeiro hosts the 2016 Olympics, the country "is already starting to feel the world's attention," according to Senior Dir Global Communications Hotels.com & Expedia Inc. Alison Couper writing for the HUFFINGTON POST. The ongoing preparations for both sporting events "have sparked some debate over whether the country will be ready in time." However, with this year's Confederations Cup showing that Brazil "has the necessary infrastructure and stadiums to host a major tournament" -- albeit on a smaller scale to the World Cup -- some fears "have been allayed." It does not "appear to have dampened the U.K.'s enthusiasm." Last year, there "was a four per cent increase in British travellers visiting the country on 2011 figures." With interest in Brazilian hotels still growing, "further rises could be seen this year." In the first few months of '13, Hotels.com "has seen searches for hotels in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro rise by more than 30 per cent." All of the cities that are hosting World Cup matches "have enjoyed double or triple digit rises in searches at Hotels.com this year." Top of the list is Salvador, where searches have soared by 126%, while Fortaleza and Curitiba have enjoyed strong rises of 108 and 82%, respectively. While increased supply added by building new hotels "should help to keep prices steady, there are fears that delays to some work could mean that hotel rooms will be scarce when the country is besieged by sporting fans next year, which could force prices up." This is a particular concern in Rio de Janiero. Although the city is working toward a target of 50,000 rooms by '16, this is "less than half the number of hotel room that were available in London during the 2012 Olympic Games" (HUFFINGTON POST, 7/22).
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