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Published by Lucy Fuggle | Nov 19, 2015 | | 2 MIN READ

Rio 2016: how the Olympic Games will affect Brazil's tourism industry

In less than a year, the opening ceremony of the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro will be watched by the world. Brazil has been preparing itself for the impact of the world's largest multi-sport event on the country, which will undoubtedly put pressure on its tourism industry.

Brazil is hoping that this pressure will be positive. After all, during 2008 to 2014, Rio's revenue from the overseas tourism market grew from 1.264bn USD to 2.104bn USD (Riocepetur). The 2014 World Cup was part of this growth, but it also wasn't without its problems. Brazil now has to resolve these and go full-steam ahead to 2016.

Below are five ways in which the Olympic Games will impact Brazil's tourism industry. As a tour operator or activity provider, these factors are certainly worth bearing in mind when it comes to adapting your tours and marketing.

Rio 2016 tourism impact

1. Tourists aren't just visiting for the world-class sport on show

The Brazilian Tourism Institute predicts that Brazil will receive at least 380,000 foreign visitors during the Olympics. As well as the promise of world-class sport, these visitors will be drawn to the famous monuments, carnivals, and landscapes of Rio.

Think about what special insight your tours can provide guests with that they can't get elsewhere. How can you enhance their visit to Rio?

Rio 2016 Christ the Redeemer

2. Tourists will flock to Christ the Redeemer

Brazil's most famous tourist attraction is Christ the Redeemer, the 30-metre tall statue at the peak of the Corcovado mountain. It's a symbol of Christianity, one of the most iconic parts of the country, and now regarded as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.

Over 2.241 million international tourists (out of a total 5.9 million) visited Christ the Redeemer during 2014 when Brazil hosted the World Cup.

Do your tours feature the attraction, or tell its story? Consider whether you can market your tours as providing an insight into Rio's culture, architecture, and heritage.

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3. The city's tourism authority wants to give tourists better experiences

Paulo Villela, the marketing director of Rio's tourism authority, RIOTUR, has said that the city wants to improve its facilities and services to give tourists better experiences. As a sharing and learning experience, Villela visited London during the 2012 Olympics and was impressed by the convenient information services that London made available to visitors. Rio needs to follow suit.

If facilitates and services are improved in the region where you work, think about whether you can take advantage of this. Can new infrastructure benefit the running of your tours or your marketing?

Impact of Olympics on tourism

4. Brazil needs to overcome certain hurdles to attract more foreign visitors

Brazil continues to face hurdles in attracting foreign tourists. These include visa requirements for U.S. citizens and inadequate regional aviation infrastructure. 

As a tour operator, keep tabs on the news for progress in these areas. If visa requirements become more relaxed for U.S. citizens, tailor your tours and advertising to the U.S. market.

You could get started with PPC advertising that's focused on the regions you wish to target. Also, take some time to understand what this market wants to gain from visiting Brazil. Can your tours or activities provide this?

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5. Brazil needs to better embrace foreign languages

A main stumbling block for Brazil is the country's failure to fully embrace foreign languages. 

Tourism operators and the Senate tourism committee have expressed how few Brazilians speak foreign languages, not enough are trained for the hotel or restaurant business, and signs on roads and museums are poor in Portuguese, let alone English.

To gain more from the Olympics than the World Cup, Brazil needs to tackle this now. It's also worth considering the multilingualism of your own tourism business.

Is your website translated into the key languages you wish to target? Also, do you use multilingual online booking software, such as TrekkSoft? Finally, is there any potential of offering your tours in foreign languages?


For more insights, get your free copy of our Travel Trends Report 2018, read by thousands of tourism pros:

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Lucy Fuggle
Published by Lucy Fuggle
Lucy spent three years building TrekkSoft’s content strategy and inbound marketing approach. She now helps companies to find their voice, kick-start projects, and bring in processes that actually work for them. Lucy writes and shares her solo adventures on
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