By Jay Forte, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – With the Rio 2016 Olympics just days away from opening on August 5th, government sources say the city has 84 percent of hotel accommodations reserved. Yet with over a million domestic and foreign tourists expected in Rio for the Games, some popular destinations outside the city have an even higher occupancy, some reaching 95 percent.
The estimate of the state’s tourism bureau is that twenty percent of the 540,000 foreign tourists predicted to be in the capital during the Olympic period are planning to travel outside Rio’s metropolitan area.
For Nilo Sergio Felix, Secretary of Tourism of Rio de Janeiro, the rates show that the cities of Rio de Janeiro state are increasingly emerging as travel options not only for locals, but also foreign tourists.
“We are following the reservations made in the [state’s] interior hotels. We believe that about twenty percent of the 540,000 tourists expected for the Olympic period will visit the interior,” he said.
Buzios and Paraty, as well as Petrópolis are reporting to be 95 percent full, as many travelers either want to escape the congestion of the Games, or are just anxious to see more of what the state of Rio de Janeiro has to offer.
The survey, conducted by the Brazilian Association of the Hotel Industry, also shows the occupancy rates and Cabo Frio (seventy percent), Angra dos Reis (95 percent), Arraial do Cabo (75 percent) and Teresópolis (ninety percent).
Secretary Felix added that during the Olympic Games, “This means more than 100,000 people, driving around the cities, moving the economy and generating jobs and income for the population.”
The government program ‘Rio+3’, which focuses on promoting towns located up to three hours away from the capital of the state, has been actively working since August last year in national and international events in which the Department of Tourism was present. According to the secretary, the campaign follows the global trend of shorter travels.
Felix added, “The State of Rio de Janeiro is privileged to have great towns nearby to the capital ready to receive a large influx of tourists. These municipalities have complete infrastructure to offer a comfortable and beautiful [experience], able to please both lovers of the mountains, as well as those who prefer to be close to the sea.”