By Jay Forte, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Between November 2015 and April 2016, approximately 565,000 people are expected to be disembarking from cruise ships in Rio de Janeiro. The number is fifteen percent higher compared to the previous summer, when 490,000 tourists arrived on cruise ships.
According to Terminal de Cruzeiros do Pier Mauá (Cruise Terminal Pier Mauá), 109 moorings are expected, by 28 international cruise lines. Already this month, in the lead-up to the holidays and the arrival of the Brazilian summer, 27 ships with more than 150,000 tourists have arrived in the city of Rio de Janeiro.
The Secretariat of the Operations Department of Tourism/TurisRio has participated in the coordination of landing vessels, guiding and serving visitors. The secretary of tourism, Nilo Sergio Felix said, “We received groups of tourists in sixty buses and eighty vans which went to the sights of Rio de Janeiro.”
Adding “This tourist niche is very important for the State of Rio and the industry as a whole. Other than the passengers on the ships, we also have the crew, which reaches forty percent of the number of tourists.
The organization predicts that during Carnival 2016 (accounting for week of February 6th to 13th), approximately 130,000 people will disembark in the city. The number is 85 percent higher than compared to the 2015 Carnival, when 70,000 came to Rio in national and international cruises.
Expatriate Bel Casson of Caminhos Language Centre works with a lot of travelers in Rio, and said, “Personally I think the increase in cruise ships to Rio is two fold. The extra tourism is good for Brazil’s declining economy at present. Ultimately this extra tourism will increase local jobs and stimulate the economy.”
However Casson also adds, “The downside is that I’m not sure the port can handle all of the tourists. The infrastructure is old and needs to be renovated and also the control for all of these foreigners needs to be improved. Money needs to be spent on being able to adequately receive these tourists in – something I can’t imagine Brazil’s government will do.”
Calculations of the Brazilian Association of International Inbound Tour Operators (BITO) show an injection of US$169 million in five months. Currently Pier Mauá in Rio’s Port Zone (in Centro) is the port of call for cruise ships docking in Rio.