Mega events in Brazil apparently follow a similar pattern: they are surrounded by incompetence and accusations of corruption, doubts from the international community, and borderline apocalyptical predictions. And then, once they start, the welcome offered by Brazilians impresses the tourists, and nothing that bad happens. And tourists fall in love with Brazil. It happened two years ago during the World Cup, and it happened again now with the Olympics.
This perception is corroborated by a study commissioned by the Ministry of Tourism, which showed that foreigners who came to Brazil for the first time ended up falling in love with our country. First timers represent 56 percent of the total of tourists – and 90 percent of them plan to come back for a second trip. Rio de Janeiro impressed 83 percent of the tourists who came to Brazil for the Olympics.
The poll was conducted between August 6 and 16, the ten days following the Opening Ceremony, which drew mostly positive reviews.
The nightlife offered by Rio was a favorite among tourists, and drew compliments from 96 percent of respondents. In second place – shockingly – was the airport, which was approved by 94 percent of respondents. This result contrasts with the perception Brazilians have of their own airports. For the past decade, there has been a constant fear of aerial chaos during holidays and major events that never quite materializes.
Safety and public transportation were also considered positive by 88 and 86 percent of poll respondents, respectively. Just a month ago, federal police officers threatened to strike on the eve of the Games by “welcoming” tourists at Rio’s international arrivals gate with a banner reading “Welcome to Hell.” In terms of Rio’s negatives, the interviewees mentioned the lack of quality of the inter-municipal roads, as well as the high prices, particularly in the Olympic facilities.
Most tourists came from the United States, followed by Argentina and England. The majority were male (64 percent) and over 25 years old (83 percent). The provisory suspension of visa requirements for USA, Canada, Japan and Australia was mentioned as positive, and 82 percent said that they would come back given that the measure becomes permanent.