By Sarah Brown, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – In light of the World Cup, the government of Rio has prepared for the arrival of thousands of tourists with new tourist information help points dotted around Zona Sul (South Zone) of Rio. As well as new tourist help points, old ones have been updated with temporary, and all have multilingual staff with an extensive knowledge of the city’s points-of-interest and related information.
Tourists can find help points at the major attractions, such as the Pão de Açucar (The Sugar Loaf) and the Christ the Redeemer, as well as along the beaches from Flamengo to Leblon. In preparation for the World Cup, all of the metros (subways) throughout Zona Sul have information points inside.
The staff can all speak English and many have additional language skills, such as Spanish or French. The information point in Copacabana for example, opposite Rua Siqueira Campos, employs a temporary worker from India that can speak six languages and is knowledgeable of Rio’s tourist points from directions and site-seeing tips, to the best restaurants and nightlife areas.
Arthur Maldonado, who speaks Portuguese, English and Spanish fluently, is a tourist help adviser at the information center in the subway General Osório in Ipanema. He explains that for him and many of the other workers, this is a temporary job during studies. However, he enjoys interacting with the tourists. “It gives me a chance to make connections and meet others from different countries,” he smiles. “If I didn’t work here, then I wouldn’t be able to meet all these people.”
It seems the reaction from the tourists to the new information points has been an equally positive one. Maldonado shares how one Chilean group he helped came back with Chilean World Cup merchandise for him as a gift to say thanks. “The tourists find these information points very useful,” Maldonado said. “They are the only way to make [the World Cup event] work. Tourists have said how the help has made their day better.”
In Ipanema, there is one main tourist information point on the beach next to Posto 8 (Post 8 lifeguard tower), and another located on Rua Visconde de Pirajá on the corner of Rua Joana Angélico in front of the church of Nossa Senhora da Paz.
Further down the beach near Posto 9 and Posto 11, there are groups of help advisers that can guide tourists with city and travel information. However, these groups of advisers are not present on match days at Maracanã as the workers are sent there to help the additional tourists in the north zone.
Other tourist help points can be found near the Monumento Estácio de Sá near Flamengo beach and by Av. Princesa Isabel in Copacabana. All tourist information points have maps, information guides and staff that can speak English and often other languages too. They are open every day with working hours from 8AM – 8PM. For more information, visit the city’s official guide site.