By Nelson Belen, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – With less than two weeks to go until one of the biggest spectacles in the world, Brazil’s National Confederation of Commerce, Services, and Tourism (CNC) is estimating that this year’s Carnival will generate some R$6.8 billion for the country and create almost 24,000 jobs.
The R$6.8 billion represents a slight two percent increase from Carnival 2018, the first increase in revenue for the event in the last three years.
“This year the mass of income is more favorable and more people are employed,” explained the CNC’s chief economist, Fabio Bentes. “This, in an environment of low inflation and cheaper credit, benefits non-essential expenses.”
The 24,000 jobs created for this year’s Carnival, while only temporary positions, is a 23 percent increase compared to last year’s Carnival, which created nineteen thousand jobs.
According to the CNC, about 18,000 of the 24,000 jobs, or 78 percent, are in the food services industry.
The Brazilian Hotels Association (ABiH) also announced this week increases in hotel occupancy over previous Carnivals. Rio de Janeiro hotels are currently reporting a 74 percent occupancy rate for Carnival, an eleven percent increase over last year.
The Rio neighborhood reporting the greatest occupancy rate is Centro where hotels have an eighty percent occupancy rate during Carnival.
Next are the neighborhoods of Botafogo/Flamengo and Ipanema/Leblon, where hotels are reporting a 76 percent occupancy rate. This is followed by Copacabana/Leme (75 percent) and São Conrado/Barra (69 percent).
According to the survey, Brazilian tourists account for about eighty percent of the hotel reservations during Carnival. The majority of foreign tourists (the remaining twenty percent) are comprised mostly of visitors from the United States, Argentina, and Chile.
The ABiH also reported a big increase for hotels in the interior of the country, where occupancy rates during Carnival have climbed to 83 percent, well over the the 66 percent registered last year.
Petrópolis, Conservatório, and Penedo are among the most sought after destinations, with hotel occupancy rates close to 100 percent.
This is followed by Paraty hotels, which have 95 percent of their rooms reserved. Arraial do Cabo and Cabo Frio hotels are next with an eighty percent occupancy rate.
Hotels in Búzios and Friburgo are showing a 75 percent occupancy rate, while Angra dos Reis has seventy percent.