With days left before the start of the 2016 Olympic Games, Rio de Janeiro aims to prepare for what may be one of the most memorable sport events in its history to date.
On October 2nd, 2009, the International Olympic Committee elected Rio de Janeiro, out of seven candidate cities (Baku, Chicago, Doha, Madrid, Prague, Rio de Janeiro and Tokyo), as host of the 2016 Summer Olympics, making it the first city in South America to host the Olympic Games. According to the Rio de Janeiro Olympic bid committee, Brazil’s campaign to host the 2016 Olympics may concentrated on technical excellence, experience of a lifetime, transformation, and supporting the Olympic and Paralympic Movements. The bid aims to also focus on the people of Brazil and the self-affirmation effect the Olympics may have on the nation. Rio de Janeiro integrated economic, social, and environmental elements into the bid which featured the motto “Green Games for a Blue Planet”.
As designated host of the 31st Olympiad, Rio de Janeiro received notable public and private investments directed towards improving the infrastructure, transportation – including an extended subway to suburban Rio de Janeiro, sanitation, building and upgrading sports facilities. The planning also encompassed the remodeling of both airports in Rio, along with four other nationwide airports, as well as adding more shuttles and bus routes to and from the airports. Part of the funding for Rio was assigned to security for increasing police numbers and raising their salaries.
Rio de Janeiro’s setting between the mountains and the sea, its urban cultural landscape and the mix of architecture and planned green space concurred to the city being named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2012. Most of the Olympic and Paralympic activities are scheduled to take place in four zones: Copacabana, Barra da Tijuca, Maracana, and Deodoro. Maracana, the stadium which held the World Cup Final in 2014, aims to prepare to host the opening and closing ceremonies of the Olympic Games. The 4km-long Copacabana beach is the scheduled venue for beach volleyball, long-distance swimming, and triathlon. Meanwhile the Olympic rowers are preparing to compete in the Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon and the yachtsmen and women in Guanabara Bay.
The organisers of the Olympic Games aim to leave both a sporting legacy for Rio, as well as a cultural legacy with the opening of new museums and galleries including Casa Daros and the Museo de Arte do Rio.
Beyond the Olympic venues, visitors to Rio may also enjoy some of the city’s landmarks such as the Sugar Loaf, a granite monolith rising 396 meters above the city, the Ipanema beach, featured in the bossa nova classic “The Girl from Ipanema”, the lively neighbourhood of Leblon, the statue of Cristo Redentor atop of Corcovado mountain, and the National Park of Tijuca, one of Rio’s natural attractions, a tropical reserve including 100km of narrow, two-lane roads, winding through the forest’s thick vegetation and waterfalls.
As a large-scale event holding international importance, the 2016 Rio Olympic Games aim to attract a significant number of tourists during the two and a half weeks of the Olympics (August 5-16) and the following 11 days of the Paralympics (September 7-18). The Olympics may have the potential to encourage growth of the country if structured properly and if finances are allocated appropriately. Planning and organising may be key in allowing the country to benefit from the event, based on a potential increase in tourism and an inflow of profits. Proper implementation and allocation of time and resources may help achieve social improvement goals and promises.
How may the Olympic Games boost Brazil’s tourism industry?