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Rio Expects Olympics Tourists to Spend More than World Cup Backpackers

01/04/2016 - 09h01

LUCAS VETTORAZZO
FROM RIO

Forget the "Latin invasion" of Rio de Janeiro during the 2014 World Cup, with tourists short on cash who drove to the city – sometimes without hotel reservations or tickets to watch the soccer games.

During the 2016 Olympic Games, those visitors are likely to make room for a different type of tourist: more demanding and with more money.

Specialists say that the tourists who will come to watch the Olympic Games will have a closer connection with the event's organization. They will be the relatives of the some 10,000 athletes, consular delegations, sponsor teams and fans of the different types of sports.

Scholars and representatives of the sector believe the Olympics tourists will stay longer in the city and that they will use the transportation infrastructure more frequently - also they will want services of higher quality.

They will use public transportation more because the competition venues are spread across the city. There will be four arenas - Barra da Tijuca and Deodoro (west zone), Maracanã (north zone) and Copacabana (south zone).

 "During the World Cup, most people only travelled from their hotels in Copacabana to Maracanã stadium. Tourists attending the Olympic Games will move more around the city," says tourism specialist at FGV Projetos, André Coelho.

There are also expectations regarding  the construction of transpiration services promised for the Olympics, such as the new subway station in Barra da Tijuca, the VLT (Light Rail Vehicle) which will connect Santos Dumont airport and the port zone, the BRT Transolímpica bus services (Recreio-Deodoro) and the expansion of BRT Transoeste bus services.

MORE FOOD AND CULTURE
 "Interests are different, with more focus on the experience with the services provided by restaurants, bars and cultural events," says Valéria Lima, a business management professor at ESPM Rio.

Although prices are likely to be above average, Americans and Europeans will benefit from their appreciated currencies in comparison with the Brazilian real.

Embratur (the Brazilian Tourist Board) believes that between 350,000 and 500,000 foreigners will visit the city during the Olympic Games. During the World Cup, Rio de Janeiro received 471,000 foreigners and 415,000 Brazilian tourists. There aren't any official forecasts for the number of Brazilian tourists to visit Rio during this year's event.

 "In general, the Olympic Games bring tourists who are coming to the city for the first time and have higher income. In the face of the scenario with favorable currency rates, it is likely that local businesses will profit more than during the World Cup," says José Ronaldo Júnior, a professor of economics at Ibmec-RJ.

Translated by THOMAS MUELLO
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