The Rio 2016 Olympic Games are to leave a remarkably positive legacy for Brazil, as demonstrated by preliminary figures from a survey by Brazil’s Ministry of Tourism on the experience of visitors all across the country during the period. The data were published on Thursday, August 18, in Rio de Janeiro.
According to the study, 87.7% of foreign travelers plan on returning to Brazil, and 94.2% of Brazilian visitors intend to come back to Rio de Janeiro.
Both domestic and international tourists describe the trip as a positive experience. For 98.7% of Brazilians who came to Rio de Janeiro, the visit either lived up to or surpassed expectations. Among foreigners, this percentage added up to 83.1%. At the top of the countries list are the US (21.2%) and Argentina (14.8%).
José Francisco Salles Lopes, director for Economic Studies and Research of the Ministry of Tourism, said that 541 thousand people entered Brazil as foreign tourists from July 1 to August 15.
The amount does not include Brazilian nationals who live abroad and hold a Brazilian passport, and reveals an increase of 157 thousand tourists from the same period last year.
Salles Lopes added that, considering only the first 15 days of August, 231 thousand visitors came to the country — up 100 thousand from the same period in 2015. Likewise, the figure does not take into account Brazilian tourists who came from overseas to watch the games.
Lopes went on to say that international tourists who came to Brazil for the Games have visited 102 Brazilian tourist cities, and 83% of them said they had plans to do more traveling in the country as tourists.
Staying at the house of friends and family was the most popular choice among domestic tourists in Rio, with 48.6% of respondents. Foreign tourists, in turn, preferred hotels, apartments, and inns (37.2%). In both cases, rented property has been on the rise, mentioned by 21% of national visitors and 25% of international ones, Lopes said.
Brazilians’ opinion about the sport venues concerning infrastructure, ease of access, and food and drink services was good or very good for 89.6%, 78.8%, and 53.1%, respectively. Eating costs were rated as bad or really bad by 50.8%.
The hospitality of the people of Rio de Janeiro was referred to as good or very good by 92% of domestic visitors and by 98.6% of foreign ones. Best ranking for tourism infrastructure among international tourists was night entertainment (96.2%), followed by restaurants (94.2%), and lodging (90.4%).
As for overall infrastructure, cab services were approved by 90.1%, public security by 88.4%, and telecom and internet services by 74.8% of foreigners. Airports were praised by 94.6% of international visitors.
Travelers from overseas commended the overall organization of the Games (84.7%), the transport available to reach venues (80.2%), ticket prices (80%), and infrastructure, signage, cleanliness, and public washrooms where competitions were held (87.1%). A lower percentage showed approval for customer service, eating and stores in venues (57.6%).
The tourist visa waiver, exceptionally granted for the Games by the Ministry of Tourism, Justice, and Foreign Relations, to visitors from the US, Australia, Canada and Japan, was used by 74.7% of travelers from these countries, of whom 82.2% stated that the waiver would make it easier for them to return to their country of origin.
The survey found that 56.5% of foreign tourists visited Brazil for the first time, 64.3% of whom men, and 35.7% women. The predominant age group (44.5%) encompasses people aged 25 to 40. The average income rate totals $3,581. Among foreigners, the individual spending averaged a daily $103.72, for an 11.7 day stay in Brazil thus far.
In the view of Vinicius Lummertz, head of EMBRATUR, the Brazilian Tourist Board, Rio de Janeiro was “recycled” for the Olympic Games and became a contemporary city.
Rio’s hotel capacity, which rose from 28 thousand to 60 thousand rooms, can serve as a parameter for future projections and economic growth, as was the case with Barcelona, Spain, which saw the number of foreign visitors skyrocket from 1.8 million to something between 8 and 9 millions a year after the Games.
In order for Rio to overcome its persistent challenges, especially with regards to security and public services, Lummertz said, “The only drawback is that of security, but we’re working in that direction.”