By Leo Byrne, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The popularity of Rio’s New Year’s Eve celebrations continued to grow this year with an estimated 2.3 million people gathering on the Copacabana beach to ring in the ‘Ano Novo’. The figure increased from last year’s two million and was just one among a number of records broken.
The number or tourists watching the festivities from ships anchored in Copacabana’s bay also increased. Last year’s figure of 30,000 went up by a further 15,000 divided among thirteen ocean liners.
Officials estimate the number of the tourists visiting in the city stands at 752,000, 5.6 percent more than compared to the same time last year. The total money they will spend over the holiday period will be approximately US$557 million, a 5.8 percent increase from 2012.
The Municipal Secretary for Tourism, Antonio Pedro Figueira de Mello recently told assembled reporters that many of Rio’s most popular tourist attractions had seen significant increases in the number of visitors. The perennially busy Pão de Açúcar (Sugarloaf) cable car transported 10,000 tourists in a single day on Sunday, while visiting hours to the statue of Christ the Redeemer had to be extended.
Such large numbers of revelers concentrated on Copacabana Beach also creates ever larger logistical problems. To help deal with them authorities enlisted the help of an additional 133 municipal guards, bringing the total up to 1,744 of the police force.
However chief among the additional security measures this year was the use and implementation of a new command center dubbed ‘Big Brother’. A high tech bus was parked on the Avenida Atlantica allowed those inside to track and coordinate every group of municipal guards, while also receiving feeds in real time from 28 security cameras positioned around the neighborhood.
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