By Sarah de Sainte Croix, Senior Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – At a press conference on Monday, the municipal Secretaries for Tourism and Conservation – Antonio Pedro Figueira de Mello and Carlos Roberto Osorio, respectively – announced that this year’s Carnival generated estimated revenues of R$1.45 billion (approximately US$850 million) in the city of Rio de Janeiro.

Bloco Cordão de Bola Preta attracted 2.2 million at Carnival 2012, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil News
Bloco Cordão de Bola Preta attracted 2.2 million at Carnival 2012, photo by Fernando Maia/Ascom Riotur.

According to their estimates, Rio welcomed 1.1 million visitors this year, 29 percent more than expected, and 32 percent of whom were foreigners.

Statistics from the Brazilian Association for the Hospitality Industry in Rio de Janeiro (Associação Brasileira da Indústria de Hotéis) show that the average hotel occupancy rate was 95 percent. Hotels in Centro recorded the highest rate at 99.16 percent, followed by the neighborhood of Flamengo at 98.66 percent.

In the Zona Sul (South Zone), hotels in Leme and Copacabana showed an average of 94.45 percent occupancy and Ipanema and Leblon registered rates of 93.81 percent.

The municipal authorities’ estimates also indicate that 5.3 million people took part in Rio’s 425 Carnival street parties (or “blocos”) – an increase of 9.7 percent on last year’s figures, with Cordão de Bola Preta attracting the largest number of revelers at 2.2 million people, followed by Monobloco with 400,000 people.

According to the Municipal Secretary of Tourism, Antonio Pedro Figueira de Mello, the Carnival of 2012 can be considered a success: “We had a Carnival of absolute success. We received a large number of tourists. With this success come new challenges. We still have problems with peeing in the street and garbage, but it is something that is already being planned [for in the future] and will be improved.”

The number of people arrested for urinating in the streets increased to 1,014 from 777 last year, while the amount of garbage decreased 23 percent from 1,300 tons in 2011, to 1,000 tons in 2012, which was attributed to more recycling this year.

It was also announced that Zona Sul will not have any new blocos licensed. The secretary said. “Regarding the number of blocos, we’ll talk with some of them, as the Afro Reggae, which appears in [Zona Sul’s Ipanema] grew a lot. We can find an alternative place.”

Read more (in Portuguese).

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