By Jack Arnhold, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – New data released by Kayak travel website shows that Rio de Janeiro is the most-searched-for travel destination by Brazilians looking to celebrate New Year’s Eve. This comes as another boost to Rio’s recuperating image as a destination city among both domestic and international tourists.
Last year, the city ranked third among domestic travelers, with Miami and Orlando taking the lead. But this year Rio has once again regained its popularity among Brazilians, leaving Miami in sixth place and Orlando in eleventh place.
One reason why Brazilians are coming back to Rio is the weakening Real in comparison with the dollar and other European currencies, making foreign travel more expensive. Other foreign cities that were popular last year, such as Paris and New York, also dropped down the list, being replaced by domestic destinations such as Fortaleza, Salvador and Recife.
Tavi Noren, from Rio Love Story, offers his opinion, “I believe Rio is the most searched destination by Brazilian travelers because people are looking for the biggest and best parties while still maintaining a tighter budget, and therefore leaving the country becomes too expensive because of the rise of the dollar.”
He continues, “Also, this year there is greater hope in general for the city, which is reflected in, for example, the city having its spectacular Christmas tree back again for the first time since 2015.”
A greater sense of hope is also being matched by new plans to increase tourist numbers in 2019, with new visa schemes available for Chinese tourists as well as E-visas offering easier access to Brazil for travelers from the United States, Japan, Australia and Canada.
2019 will also see the opening up of Brazil’s airspace, with more direct flights from the US to Brazil, as well as cheaper direct flights to Rio de Janeiro being offered by low cost airlines such as Norwegian Air.