Natalie Paris, The Daily Telegraph, June 12, 2013
Booking inquiries for hotels have more than doubled in some Brazillian cities this year, as interest in the country gathers pace ahead of the World Cup.
Figures from the hotel comparison website Hotels.com suggested that searches for accommodation in Salvador have more than doubled in the first half of 2013, increasing by 126 per cent on the same period last year.
Searches for hotels in the northern city of Fortaleza have also risen sharply - by 108 per cent - while travellers looking for accommodation in the already popular destinations of São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro increased by 32 per cent and 36 per cent, respectively.
Hotel prices have also begun to climb, though not yet to the levels London experienced during the 2012 Olympics.
Average hotel rates in the country rose by eight per cent last year to £151 a night.
Prices in Sao Paulo also increased by eight per cent to an average of £135 a night, while in Rio they rose by 13 per cent to £177 per night.
Both cities are due to host World Cup matches, as are the cities of Salvador, Belo Horizonte, Brasilia, Fortaleza, Porto Alegre, Natal, Manaus, Recife, Cuiaba and Curitiba.
Another factor influencing the increase in price for hotels is the country’s booming economy. Brazil attracted 5.4 million visitors last year, a rise of 4.5 per cent on the previous year, according to the Brazilian Ministry of Tourism. Of those visitors, 155,548 were British, a four per cent rise on 2011.
While 57 new hotels are expected to open in Brazil this year, there are concerns that there may still be a shortage of rooms by the time the tournament begins.
“It’s great to see interest is building in Brazil ahead of next year’s World Cup,” said Alison Couper, from Hotels.com. “Looking beyond the World Cup to the 2016 Olympics, however, we could find that hotels in Rio are scarce. Although the city is working towards a target of 50,000 rooms, this is half as many as London had in 2012.
“While prices in Rio will almost certainly be higher than they were in London last year, travellers should still be able to get good value for money if they book early.”