It’s not really surprising, after all it happens just about anywhere that a global sporting event takes place. I remember trying to book a hotel for a short break during the London Olympics, some of the prices were eye watering even if you could find something available. It looks like the same is happening across Brazil particularly in Rio prior to this Summer’s World cup finals. If you can find a price double what you expected to pay then you’d be well advised to grab it quick.
Rio is the worse hit, although a deal which has been agreed will limit rates to not rising above the levels of the Carnival and New Year which is still a pricey $1000 a night. It is sad that this is happening as short term profit will do nothing to help the long term tourism prospects of this wonderful country.
There is already plenty of horror stories of crime and violence on the streets of Brazil’s biggest cities, the stories of profiteering will only reinforce this negative image. It’s hard to get rid of these images and reputations especially those of tourist exploitation.
Brazil could really benefit from a tourism increase, it’s a great country with lots of things to see and a friendly population. Currently Brazil only receives around 6 million visitors a year (many of those associated with short breaks around festivals). If you think that sounds a lot consider that France gets around 80 million tourists every year.
However despite the price rises, all the rooms will of course sell out but some football fans are looking for alternatives. Instead of paying a few hundred dollars a night even in hostels near the center, they are starting to look further out.
Outside the beaches among the hillside slums of Rio for example are a variety of hostels available. They may not be in the best area, but they do have some fantastic views of the city and the costs are much less than in the center. Many of the hostels have hiked their prices up too but they still are relatively inexpensive compared to the city hotels and hostels. You can find a reasonable hostel for around $70 a night in these areas. The hostels are clean and well run the ones I visited even have rigged up TV and computer screens for fans so that they can watch Iplayer abroad and follow a BBC commentary instead of one in Spanish!
There is still a concern though – which is security. Only a few years ago these areas were completely controlled by drugs lords and gangs. Although the police have mostly cleaned these out they have not been 100% successful and there are still reports of periodic gun battles in certain areas. Mostly if you follow advice and stay away from specific areas it should be reasonably safe though.
There is a temptation though that with the high cost of travel, accommodation and the various concerns about security many fans may decide to skip this particular world cup. There are some temptations to just go on holiday somewhere and watch it on UK TV like this instead!