Brazil | 2014 World Cup

New Brazilian tourism campaign offers a warm welcome to the world

 
 
Scene from Brazil’s new video campaign welcoming visitors to Brazil for the 2014 World Cup
Scene from Brazil’s new video campaign welcoming visitors to Brazil for the 2014 World Cup
Courtesy Embratur

mwhitefield@MiamiHerald.com

Brazil launched a new global tourism campaign Monday that emphasizes Brazil’s diversity and the warmth with which Brazilians will greet visitors during the upcoming World Cup.

In a conference call introducing new videos and a jingle — “In June, the world meets in Brazil” — Minister of Tourism Vinicius Lages said that people from 186 countries have bought tickets for the June 12 to July 13 tournament.

Some 600,000 international visitors and 3 million Brazilians are expected to travel around the country to 12 World Cup host cities during the month-long event.

“This new campaign aims to show a small preview of what Brazil has to offer,’’ said Vicente Neto, president of Embratur, the Brazilian Tourism Board.

The videos “Meeting” and “Dancing” show crashing surf, Brazil’s enviable mix of mountains meeting the sea, scenes from Carnival, tourist attractions and Brazilians playing soccer, dancing and enjoying themselves.

Brazil looks at mega-sporting events such as the World Cup and the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, said Lages, as a great way to introduce international visitors to the country’s scenic riches, cultural diversity, music and dance, exotic cuisine and Brazilian way of being — and to increase tourism.

“Brazil is a very continental country so the World Cup will give Brazilians a better way to know it as well,’’ Lages said.

In 2013, Brazil had between 5.9 million and 6 million international visitors. In contrast, Miami-Dade County alone had 14.2 million overnight visitors last year.

Brazilian tourism officials say they hope that the World Cup and Olympics will help boost tourism and pay dividends for years to come.

The tourism campaign invites tourists to visit a “New Brazil,” an innovative “happy country,’’Neto said.

A remix of a song by singer Ivete Sangalo that became popular during this year’s Carnival in Bahia is featured on the “Meeting” video. “You have a meeting in a country that enjoys making you feel happy...., ” she sings. “Brazil will win your heart.”

But the campaign comes at a time when there are concerns about public safety during the Cup as well as Brazil’s readiness to host the world’s premiere soccer event.

Last-minute work is still continuing at three soccer stadiums, some airport projects that Brazil had hoped to finish are still works in progress, and there have been worries about high hotel prices and not enough lodging in smaller cities.

Social protests that brought 1 million Brazilians to the streets during last year’s Confederations Cup have continued through the year. And some Brazilians are expected to use the high visibility of the World Cup to continue to express their displeasure at the high cost of building soccer palaces, mediocre public transportation, school and health services, and government corruption.

The cost of the new stadium in Brasilia, for example, has almost tripled to $900 million and auditors suspect that one-third of the cost may be attributed to price-gouging, the Associated Press reported Monday.

Protests, Lages said, are a “natural phenomenon” in a functioning democracy.

The media scrutiny being focused on the protests might give the impression that they’re generalized throughout the country, he said. But Lages said protests aren’t expected to disrupt “the normal flow of events” and visitors will be warmly welcomed in Brazil.

“Brazilians are a people who know how to take care of visitors,” said Lages. “This warm welcome is one of the striking features of our culture.”

Despite the protests, Lages said, a survey after the Confederations Cup showed that more than 71 percent of travelers said they were satisfied with public safety during the event and a “great majority” said they would return to Brazil.

He also said he thinks Brazil has the lodging question covered. In some of the smaller World Cup destinations such as Cuiabá in the state of Mato Grosso, he said plans have been made to provide alternative accommodations, such as camping sites and lodging on ranches.

And in Sao Paulo, where the opener will be held, Lages said there are lower than expected occupancy rates during the Cup. He doesn’t expect a big run-up in prices, which plagued the Confederations Cup, to be as much of a problem this year.

The new World Cup campaign hopes to reach 1.3 million people through Internet and television ads, billboards, in-flight and social media, and through advertising at some airports.

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