RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – In the Southern Hemisphere winter is here, taking us by surprise as every change of season in every corner of the globe seems to. In Rio that means nights can cool well into the 60’s (Fahrenheit, high-teens in Celsius), and the days in the 70’s, and maybe the most dramatic change is the short days, with sunrise at 6AM and sunset around 5PM.
For our readers in the north of the Northern Hemisphere that may sound like a walk in the park, and it is. But still there are no heating systems in homes and a lot of folks are pressed to come up with long-sleeve shirts or pants.
The winter usually means a slow down of tourism business for restaurants and hotels. One of my favorite kilo places just announced a R$30 “fixo” – all you can eat – during week nights. For Ipanema that’s a bargain, especially with the dollar getting stronger, if your money is coming that way.
June, July and August are the dead of winter, but this year Rio has the Rio+20 to boost the tourism economy. This event is starting to feel a bit more like an enigma as the weeks tick by, as the most relevant news we’re finding on the wire is the lack of housing available.
We’ll dig up more, but the political implications of the event seem to be getting less attention then many must hope. We’re certainly waiting for new news; who is coming (specifically), who is not, how does that affect international laws and trade and tangible information.
Perhaps it is the nature of the event, all the news will come during and afterwards. Perhaps the world has other more pressing concerns. In Rio though, the event feels like a tidal wave waiting to happen, and we’re all certainly hoping to be prepared for it.
Brazil’s tourism industry is continuing to grow, despite the major increases in cost of living (and traveling). Everyone is commenting on how the Rio+20 event is a bit of a training effort to get ready to host the 2014 World Cup, and for Rio specifically the 2016 Olympics.
Critics and concerned parties (FIFA) have been commenting that Brazil’s infrastructure, especially airports, is not prepared for the influx of visitors. Brazil receives around 5.4 million tourists per year, to put that in perspective, in 2010 South Africa received eight million.
If there is any silver lining, it is that these events, Rio+20, the World Cup and Olympics are all during the Brazilian winter, when there are less seasonal tourist then usual. The FIFA World Cup in Brazil begins Thursday, June 12th and ends Sunday, July 13th. The Olympics will be in Rio from August 5 to 21, 2016.
Looking at the weather again, this weekend in Rio it is supposed to reach 85-87 (Fahrenheit, 32-33 in Celsius). Not too bad.