The city of Rio de Janeiro, in the southeast of Brazil, is becoming one of the main attractions of international ship tours, said the Director of Studies and Research of the Brazilian Institute of Tourism (Embratur), José Francisco Salles Lopes.
According to the company that administers the city’s port, Companhia Docas do Rio de Janeiro, the current season, that goes from October to April, will register arrival of 250 thousand people, among passengers and crew, and over 80 cruises.
During Carnival, season’s most significant period, the city will receive 10 transatlantic ships, carrying 40 thousand tourists of several countries. Each visitor is expected to spend around US$ 100 per day in the city. According to the Ministry of Tourism, in January, US$ 402 million were spent by tourists in Brazil, the highest amount ever.
A research conducted by the Syndicate of Hotels, Bars and Restaurants (SindiRio) reveals that 95% of visitors intend to return to visited places. Only 13% of them stay in the ships. The majority goes out to bars and restaurants, goes shopping; usually by cabs.
In the opinion of the Coordinator of Tourism Quality of SindiRio, Carla Riquet, this type of tourism is very important because the passenger feels like visiting the city again, checking in a hotel, and spending more time in the region.
But not everything is good news. Ships may pose serious risks to the environment, if not carefully overseen. The Vice-President of the National Syndicate of Merchant Marine Officers (Sindmar), José Válido, affirms that Brazil still does not have laws that ensure environmental security.
He mentioned the risk of contamination and environmental imbalance when the water stored in ships to give them stability is collected in a place and thrown out in another. "This water contains live microorganisms that are thrown in places other than their habitats."
According to the Press Service of Companhia Docas do Rio de Janeiro, it is a common practice in Brazil to isolate ships for refueling. They are taken out of the pier area during the operation. In addition, entities such as the National Sanitary Surveillance Agency (ANVISA) visit the ships before they dock.