News

Will 'World Cup effect' boost Brazil?

As the FIFA 2014 World Cup approaches, soccer players and fans are limbering up for an action-packed tournament.

In the recent second phase of ticket sales, half a million people from 199 countries scrambled to guarantee access to one of the games.

Unsurprisingly, 80% of these fans were Brazilian, and the reality for most Europeans will be a summer spent watching matches from the comfort of their own homes.

But Brazil, like every other nation that's hosted a major sporting event, is confident the World Cup will still boost the number of visitors to the country.

Certainly, countries who have hosted major sporting in the past have enjoyed similar successes – Barcelona enjoyed a massive boost in visitor numbers after the 1992 Olympic Games, while the increase of tourist numbers in South Africa since it hosted the World Cup in 2010 has been much steadier but consistent, with the South African government saying there has been a year-on-year uplift.

In terms of South America and the "World Cup effect", tour operator Cox & Kings, who have a strong foothold in Peru, says there has already been a significant increase.

Despite hikes in hotel prices in Brazil for the tournament period, accommodation in some of the major host cities is also already thin on the ground – rental company Holiday Lettings says most of their Brazil properties are already booked up for June and July.

This all means that for many people, the prospect of visiting during the World Cup will be either logistically or financially impossible, but increased media coverage of the destination will no doubt fuel interest in future visits.

One of the biggest problems facing Brazil has been its safety records, with many potential tourists turned off by the prospect of violent crime. But in the last few years, the government has been working hard to clean up streets and increase police presence – to great effect.

There's no question the World Cup has come at a good time for Brazil. The economy has stabilised over the past two decades, and improved facilities and infrastructure will no doubt help the country toward its goal of becoming a major world player.

Whoever ends up taking the trophy home in 2014, Brazil should be confident it's onto a tourism winner.


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