Brazil expects to receive more than half a million foreign tourists with the staging of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, according to a report of the Brazilian Tourism Institute (EMBRATUR).
The country received 6.4 million foreign tourists in 2014, the year of the Football World Cup, representing an increase of 10.6% over 2013. This increase amounted to a total of 600,000 more tourists, creating a new record for international visitor arrivals.
Between June and July, when the football competition was held, the country recorded 1.08 million tourist arrivals, a figure that is three times the 350,000 foreign visitors the country received during the same months in 2013.
In those two months, tourists spent a total of 1.586 billion dollars (1.437 million euros) in the country, according to the Brazilian Central Bank.
Standing out among the areas receiving the most foreign tourists in 2014 are Rio de Janeiro, with the arrivals of 1.6 million foreigners, up 32%; Amazonas, with 50,000 non-resident visitors, representing an increase of 52% over the previous year; and the Federal District, with 100,000 foreigners, an increase of 35%.
According to the Ministry of Tourism, Argentina remains the main source country, with 1.74 million visitors in 2014, followed by the United States (656,000).
The Brazilian tourism authorities now focus on the Summer Olympics, in Rio de Janeiro, next year. One of the main projects of the government is to suspend the visa obligation between Brazil and the U.S. to increase the number of visitors in 2016.