By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – Large crowds during Carnival are no longer restricted to Rio de Janeiro, with São Paulo and Brasília registering significant increases this year in the number of tourists coming into these cities to see the parades and attend the blocos (street parties).
“Exceeding all expectations, the growth in the number of visitors in the [São Paulo] Sambódromo was of around 167 percent and in the street Carnivals the increase was 203 percent,” said São Paulo’s tourist bureau, SPTuris in a press release.
According to SPTouris, officials had only forecast an initial increase of around thirty percent in tourists during the 2017 Carnival festivities.
Not only did they come, but tourists also left more money in São Paulo, according to the Bureau. The average expenditures for three days of Carnival jumped from R$617 in 2016, to R$957 in 2017, increase of 55.1 percent.
Meanwhile street carnival in Brasília grew almost fifty percent this year compared to 2016, according to city officials, with more than 1.2 million taking to the streets to dance in 128 carnival blocos and 208 other events during the four days of celebration.
“We had the largest participation of the population on the streets in history which confirms the city’s (Carnival),” said Brasília’s governor, Rodrigo Rollemberg on Wednesday when announcing the results.
In times of economic distress the festivities are a welcoming relief to these cities’ economies.
“It’s important to the economy, with a large number of street vendors working. In addition, we did not have a single recorded homicide,” said the governor, ignoring the 75 buses that were vandalized during the four days of festivities.
According to city officials more than R$1.5 million were invested in infrastructure for the street carnival in Brasília this year, a great part coming from the private sector.