The reality of Brazil’s Olympic tourism

Global Business

The reality of Brazil's Olympic tourism

It was hoped the Olympics would bring a tourist boom to Rio de Janeiro. But fears over security and the Zika virus has kept many foreign visitors away.

CCTV America’s Stephen Gibbs reports in Rio.

Few Olympics have been held in such a spectacular setting as summer 2016. Rio has the scenery, and the weather, that you would expect to draw the big tourism numbers. But other things haven’t worked in the city’s favor.

These Olympics, like all Olympics, have been a unique opportunity for the host city to open its doors to the world. But have these games been a boom, or a bust, for tourism?

Officials said that overall exactly as many visitors as they expected came to Rio to see the games.

“We have over 350,000 international tourists and we have 650,000 Brazilian tourists in the city, and it’s getting better every day,” Michael Nagy, Commercial Director, Rio Convention and Visitors Bureau said.

That’s fewer foreign visitors than the half-million once predicted.

Not surprising, given fears – especially about the Zika virus – which affected the build up to the games.

But tourism officials said they are pleased with the overall numbers. They say the doomsayers have been proven wrong.

Antonio Pedro Figueira de Melo, Rio de Janeiro Secretary of Tourism thinks dire predictions are just part of the proccess.

“We saw this in London. We saw this in Beijing that it was going to be terrible,” de Melo said. “And when the games begin, begins the party.”

Having the world watching that party has both its upsides and its downsides. An estimated 5 billion people watched the games worldwide, making them a priceless advertisement for the best of Rio. But high profile reports of robberies and muggings – whatever the truth – have been damaging.

Mauricio Moura on Brazil’s tourism economics

Brazil’s risky mega investment could pay off for some, but what about the majority of Brazilians? To find out if the games will change their lives for the better, CCTV America’s Rachelle Akuffo spoke with Mauricio Moura, managing director of IDEIA.