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By Chesney Hearst, Senior Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – During the 2015 Carnival celebrations the city of Rio de Janeiro welcomed approximately 977,000 tourists, according to the Secretaria Municipal de Turismo, known as Riotur. The data released on Sunday, February 22nd, showed that the visitors generated US$782 million in revenue for the city.

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An estimated 500,000 people attended the Monobloco parade on Sunday, February 22nd, Fernando Maia/Riotur.

“We usually see about a fifty percent increase for the week of Carnival, with the majority of that increase coming from just Monday and Tuesday,” Sam Flowers, owner of the Gringo Café in Ipanema, told The Rio Times during the Carnival this year.

“The best part is serving a truly multinational, multicultural public. We have moments in Gringo where you can meet people literally from every continent on the planet,” he added.

During the holiday, city hotels were reportedly at an average occupancy rate of 84 percent, with 92 percent occupancy reported in the neighborhoods of Ipanema and Leblon and 85 percent occupancy in the neighborhood of Copacabana. Additionally, ten cruise ships docked in the Rio port accounted for some 26,000 tourists.

In addition to the four nights of competitive samba parades held in the Sambódromo, the free street parties known as blocos were a major draw for tourists. The 456 blocos scheduled for this year officially began in January and had an estimated combined attendance of more than 4.7 million.

The Cordão da Bola Preta bloco drew one million attendees on Saturday, February 14th and most recently, Monobloco saw a crowd of some 500,000 revelers on Sunday, February 22nd.

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