Brazil's Rio celebrates World Cup tourism bonanza
Updated: 2014-07-16 08:12
RIO DE JANEIRO - Brazil's city of Rio de Janeiro earned some 2 billion US dollars in tourism revenue thanks to the 2014 Brazil World Cup, local tourism authorities announced Tuesday.
At a press conference, authorities said nearly 900,000 tourists visited the city during the month-long World Cup, including 471, 000 foreign visitors and 415,000 Brazilian tourists.
During the June 12 to July 13 sporting event, the city hosted seven World Cup matches, including the final Sunday.
Not surprisingly, Argentineans topped the list of foreign visitors, at 77,000. Argentina not only shares a border with Brazil, but its national team played two matches in Rio, both in the initial group phase and the final against Germany.
Chileans and Colombians also visited Rio in large numbers: 45, 000 and 31,000, respectively.
Given the high number of visitors, authorities estimated that tourism spending during the World Cup amounted to 4.4 billion reals (2 billion US dollars), four times the amount originally expected.
An average tourist stayed nine and a half days in the city, spending 639 reals (290 dollars) a day, according to officials, while occupancy rates at hotels near the city's iconic Maracana Stadium were 93.8 percent, and as high as 99.75 percent during the final.
In all, seven matches were played at Rio's Maracana Stadium, all sold out, said officials.
"We had a full house at all matches," Rio Tourism Secretary Antonio Mello said. "In addition, 3.6 billion people around the world watched the World Cup's final match and saw the beauty of the city."
Tourists were reportedly very happy with their experience in Rio. According to a study presented by the authorities, 98 percent of those queried said their stay exceeded expectations and 58 percent plan to return to Rio for the Summer Olympics in 2016.
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