By Jack Whibley, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Tourists from Brazil and abroad are predicted to spend R$25 billion at next year’s month-long football (soccer) World Cup, according to estimates from the Brazilian Tourism Ministry, Embratur. The total amount predicted to be spent is 28 times that which was spent by tourists during the week of last July’s World Youth Day (WYD) in Rio, which was estimated at R$900 million.
Most of this spending is predicted to come from three million domestic tourists keen to support the Brazilian team. Brazilians are expected to spend R$18.3 billion during the competition. Embratur’s calculations suggest that Brazilian tourists are likely to visit host cities for an average of ten days.
Based on historical figures for tourists entering Brazil and ticket sales figures from FIFA, football’s world governing body, it is expected that 600,000 foreigners will visit Brazil for the 2014 World Cup and inject a further R$6.8 billion into the economy.
The World Cup will be staged across twelve host cities in Brazil. Rio is the most expensive with a projected daily spend of R$824 per person, which includes lodgings, meals, transport and shopping.
After Rio, the next most expensive host city is expected to be Brasília and the cheapest should be Natal with an average daily spend of R$412. The variation in expenditure is due mostly to the difference in prices for hotels and guest houses.
Despite Rio’s worldwide fame for tourism and the fact that it will host the World Cup final, the city that is expected to receive the most visitors is São Paulo (595,000 tourists). Quoted in the Folha de São Paulo newspaper, Embratur’s economist Leandro Garcia considers that more tourists are expected in São Paulo because the city will be the main air travel hub.
Mr. Garcia said, “Some people should take advantage of their stop [in São Paulo] and stay for the local games.”
Despite Embratur’s predictions, some local businesses are in two minds about the predicted impact of the World Cup.
Lance Horsley, co-owner of Casa Cool Beans bed and breakfast in the Santa Teresa neighborhood of Rio, and Cool Beans Flats in Ipanema told The Rio Times that he believes that Rio is a big winner from hosting such mega events.
He said, “The added spotlight increases world interest, not just for the month of the World Cup. All types of hospitality business will win due to increased demand and revenue.”
Horsley continued though that some mega events do not translate directly into increased business. He said, “It seems to us that there is not really a low season in Rio anymore. So for us occupancy is already high; thus these events don’t necessarily increase our occupancy rate.”
Referring to last month’s World Youth Day (which was predicted to bring R$1.2 billion into the economy), Horsley said, “WYD was our slowest period since we opened three years ago. Most attendees were youth who could not afford to stay in a B&B. When questioning potential guests about staying in this period, most opted to stay away so they would not be inconvenienced by the crowds.”
Businesses such as Horsley’s will be hoping that increased visitor numbers for the World Cup translates into increased revenue rather than displacing existing business by keeping others away.