By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – A new law in Rio de Janeiro city will guarantee tourists rights to know the prices of hotel amenities before the booking process is completed. The law was approved months before the city is to host the 2016 Olympics, and when hundreds of thousands of visitors are expected to fill up hotels and guest houses throughout the town. Establishments charging ‘hidden’ costs may be fined up to R$5,000.
“Hotels and other hospitality venues are prohibited to add to clients’ final expense bills any amount which is not included on the menu or price list, and previously made available by the establishment to the client,” says the law.
State representative Geraldo Pudim, the lawmaker who proposed the bill, noted in his project that it is ‘common for a hotel to charge consumers service taxes and prices which were not previously cited’.
For the Brazilian Hotel Industry Association – Rio de Janeiro chapter (ABIH-RJ), however, the new measure should not affect significantly the day-to-day operations of its members.
“The hotels already have, as a rule, all prices easily accessible to its guests, while fully respecting the obligations of the CDC (Consumer Defense Law),” stated Alfredo Lopes, president of ABIH-RJ. According to Lopes the consumer defense law guarantees that rules and prices are made available to consumers before hotel booking is completed.
Despite the current downturn faced by the industry, as the country’s economic outlook dims, the ABIH-RJ is optimistic that business will increase as the countdown to the Games continues.
The association estimates that 11,000 hotel rooms will be available during August 2016 in the neighborhood of Barra da Tijuca alone, where most of the Olympic competitions will take place.