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Rio 2016 legacy: Brazil expecting post-Games tourism boost as Olympic visitors give seal of approval

83.1 per cent of foreign tourists and 98.7 per cent of Brazilians said their experience of Rio either met or exceeded their expectations

Rio 2016 legacy: Brazil expecting post-Games tourism boost as Olympic visitors give seal of approval

Brazil is likely to see a big increase in tourism in the coming years thanks to the Olympic Games (Getty Images)

Billions of viewers around the world watched the Rio 2016 Games and would have seen just how beautiful the Cidade Maravilhosa is. During the Olympic events, broadcasters captured Rio de Janeiro’s iconic landscape, from Corcovado to Sugarloaf mountain, the Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon and the city’s famous coastline. Rio, a city that has always been considered one of the most charming and most beautiful in the world, could not have been given better exposure.

An aerial view of the Beach Volleyball Arena with the famous Copacabana Beach (Photo: Getty Images/Quinn Rooney, Chris McGrath)

Based on the findings taken from the three previous Olympic host cities (Athens, Beijing and London), Brazil’s ministry of tourism expects a six per cent increase in the number of visitors to the country over the next year.

“This is what we expect, it could even exceed this estimate,” said Jun Yamamoto, the ministry of tourism’s director of planning and strategic management.

Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas provided a beautiful stage for the canoe sprint and rowing competitions (Photo: Getty Images/Matthias Hangst)

Rio received around 500,000 visitors during the Olympic Games. According to a survey carried out by the ministry of tourism, 87.7 per cent of foreign tourists intend to come back to Brazil.

American banker Kirk Olson, 37, is one of them. “I’m loving the landscape, the people, everything. The women are beautiful and everyone is always smiling. I’m already looking at when I will come back,” he said.

Josina Henke and Luis Kramer (Photo: Rio 2016/Fernanda Ezabella)

German student couple Josina Henke and Luis Kramer, 24, watched the gold medal match which saw the women’s football title go to Germany, as well as the athletics and the rhythmic gymnastics. “We want to come back with more friends. We love the combination of the beach with the city. Brazilians like to party, just like us,” they said, as they watched the men’s football final at Germany House, one of the many hospitality spaces set up by delegation countries to welcome Olympic visitors.

Tourists from the USA lead the list of numbers of foreign visitors by country at the Games, with 21.2 per cent, followed by Argentinians (14.8 per cent) and Britons (4.8 per cent). In order to host so many people, Rio’s hospitality industry added 20,000 rooms and today has 50,000 rooms in total, according to the Brazilian Hotel Industry Association. This is one of the legacies of the Rio 2016 Games.

Christ the Redeemer, with Maracanã and Maracanãzinho (Photo: Getty Images/Mario Tama)

To increase the competitiveness of its national tourism, Brazil invested in the qualifications of professionals within the sector, in the improvement for sign-posting for visitors and in the marketing of primary tourist destinations. But the athletes themselves also contributed to Brazil’s positive marketing. Swimming legend Michael Phelps wrote a touching tribute to Brazil and its people.

And home office chief-minister, Eliseu Padilha declared:

Brazil demonstrated competence, qualification, harmony and dedication. I’m talking about more than 200 million people who, in one way or another, worked so that we could put on the biggest even of its kind in history. Those that came had a great time. Those who saw the images on television will have had a similar feeling. Rio will be different after the Games,”

Irina Zelenkova feels at home in Rio (Photo: Rio 2016/Fernanda Ezabella)

Sports doctor, Irina Zelenkova, 29, has been in Rio since the end of July and has fallen in love with the city. She made friends whilst swimming at Praia Vermelha. “My Brazilian friends say that I’ve become carioca,” said the Russian, who works for her country’s Olympic Committee. “I feel very safe here, even when I had to go to distant arenas, like Deodoro, or even when I visited a restaurant in the Vidigal favela.”

The road cycling course was considered one of the most picturesque in Olympic Games’ history (Photo: Getty Images/Phil Walter)

For 83.1 per cent of foreign tourists and 98.7 per cent of Brazilians, their experience of Rio either met or exceeded their expectations. A survey by the ministry of tourism revealed good satisfaction levels from tourists in the areas of security, public transport, infrastructure and prices. And if tourists still need a reason to come back, aside from the aforementioned factors, it is just a matter of remembering the images of the Games to know that Rio de Janeiro, just as Gilberto Gil famously sang, continues to be beautiful.



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