By Mike G Coffey, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO – Rio is indeed one of the most sought after dream vacation destinations worldwide. That as it may be, does not do justice to the feverish rage for Rio de Janeiro when it comes time for Carnival.
All tourism related industries from; car rentals, hotels, to airline flights, skyrocket in terms of prices, and that’s only if you are not too late.
Bookings for Carnival are often filled several months before the beat of Rio’s infamous Samba Schools begin to rattle the hearts, minds, and hips of the Carnival loving Cariocas.
It seems that this skyrocketing of prices is felt most in the pockets of vacationers coming with the hope of finding a temporary apartment carnival package. In fact the apartment hotel industry, especially here in Rio, is driven by these Carnival prices the same way that the retail industry plans around Christmas for strong revenues.
The temporary apartment and hotel industry rarely allows contracts longer than three months, to ensure that prices can be easily raised for new tenants brimming with cash, coming down for the Carnival season.
In one case a young couple who found a temporary apartment in Ipanema in September, were told they could only sign a contract for three months. The landlord suggested they were welcome to stay for another three months December through to the end of February, but they could expect a 75 percent raise in prices. “Actually they told us to expect at least that but to wait till November, because it might be even more” then she added “it turns out they raised the prices by 100 percent”.
Although 100 percent sounds ludicrous, one might consider it lucky, Monsieur Leblond a reputable twenty year old apartment hotel that is part of the “Rede Protel” group, offer rates more then three times their “normal package prices”, plus 25 percent more for each extra guest, and they are already fully booked for the Carnival season.
This price hiking phenomena is not unique to temporary apartments, according to hostelworld.com, even dorm bed prices are rising on an average of 250 percent, with simple small beds with little accommodating service, reaching heights of between R$150 and R$200 a night, during the Carnival season.
As long as there are people willing to indulge, in some cases for 300 percent prices hikes, they will be greeted by landlords ready and smiling to hand over the keys. In fact in some cases “would be tenants” are met with a bidding competition when trying to get in the door all to the pleasure of any logical real estate agent or landlord.
In today’s Brazilian economy the tourists plight is compounded by the purchasing power of the rising middle class, who is now participating more than ever in driving Carnival prices through the roof. Don’t expect these trends to slow down anytime soon, with Rio playing host to the upcoming 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics, Rio de Janeiro should cement itself as a legitimate and safe tourism destination.