tourism and event names are already feeling a recovery

For those who want to have fun, Rio is again “the” place. The city already has a packed program of shows until the end of the year – something for everyone and also marking the return of international tours – at the level of pre-pandemic times. Not to mention the year of Rock in Rio, whose tickets sold out quickly – for the day with Justin Bieber, they “flew” in 12 minutes. The event should draw 300,000 tourists to the city, raising the hotel chain’s occupancy rate to nearly 100%. The lodging industry is coming off a better season than expected, with a “summer” extending into a second Carnival, in April.

The climate is reliable for tourism and entertainment. The French company GL events, which manages Riocentro and Jeunesse Arena – the largest congress center and largest stage in Rio, both in Barra – will reopen the hotel in the congress and exhibition space in June, with 306 apartments.

“There’s no place like Barra. It should be called the city of events – suggests Milena Palumbo, of GL events.

Dream Factory, which manages the programming in Marina da Glória, is preparing to launch the Rio Marathon in June and ArtRio in September, among others.

However, corporate tourism, an important source of resources, is still slow as it sets an extensive chain in motion. But the announcement of the Web Summit, the world’s largest technology gathering, in a year’s time in Riocentro, gives a sign of hope: The segment’s forecast is pushed to 2023.

— When it comes to tourism, we talk from the taxi driver to the management. It is our most important product, it must be looked at with care – says Roberto Medina, “father” of Rock in Rio.

“It’s one show after another, some” out of stock”

Milena Palumbo, CEO of GL Events in Brazil Photo: Agencia O Globo

“The entertainment market is extremely responsive as there is pent-up demand from both national and international tours. Jeunesse Arena will not have a weekend available until the end of the year. It’s one show after another, some out of stock exhausted† At Marisa Monte’s we had to open an extra date. The pandemic has shown that culture and entertainment are also essential to humans, and people are eager to meet artists. It’s a different atmosphere than a tour in a normal year. But what is magical in the world of entertainment does not repeat itself in the world of technical-scientific events and fairs. This segment will take a little longer to recover as it is a more complex production chain. And the stock markets were heavily impacted by the business environment in Rio. It is a sensitive market but extremely important as it generates a huge currency for the city. Today, Riocentro works at 50% of what we normally have for medium and large fairs, which take a year of planning and fundraising. There is more demand for 2023, but we are not going back to 100% yet, but to about 70%. Bringing a Web Summit to Riocentro is a great goal. Rio has to work out a calendar. This way the hotel market is organized and not dependent on carnival and summer.”

Milena Palumbo, CEO of GL Events in Brazil

“We are a giant product”

Roberto Medina, Entrepreneur Who Made Rock in Rio
Roberto Medina, entrepreneur who created Rock in Rio Photo: Roberto Moreyra / Agência O Globo

“We have been looking at our finitude for two years. I thought when the mask came off, people would be cheering. But that feeling is not there yet. And Rock in Rio could be that door to celebrate the reunion. It is a privilege to work on something that is an economic asset to the country and that touches the soul of the people at the same time. The world is very divided, stressed, and music is the meeting of the different, because joy has no side. Unfortunately, Brazil does not take the tourism industry very seriously, which is seen as an attraction to the economy. We are a giant product. In the state of Rio, the impact of the sector is R$27.5 billion per year. Carnival and Rock in Rio alone represent R$5.5 billion. And it is currency that is generated on the spot, unlike what happens in the industrial sector, where projects have time to mature. We are going through a recovery, I have no doubt about that. At Rock in Rio we have 85% of the capacity of the hotels, or more. Of tourists there will be 300 thousand. Many think that a party is a cost and a bridge is an investment. Festa also represents more money for health and schools. And in Rio we have a hotel, natural beauty, hospitable people. Just open the door, light up the city and don’t miss this opportunity.”

Roberto Medina, Entrepreneur Who Made Rock in Rio

“Events keep hotels busy”

“During the pandemic, we were closed for eight months. We resume in November 2021, we thought the end of the year would be wonderful, but then came the second wave of Covid. We have not closed any hotels, but the situation was very complicated. After a slow and gradual recovery, Rio culminated in an exceptional New Year’s Eve, with a packed house. And the fair without a fair was 86% occupied. The royal carnival, with a parade on the Avenue, had 81%. This entire period of extended peak season was high occupancy, especially in luxury hotels. Almost all the guests are Brazilians, especially many people with a high income. This segment aimed at leisure tourism should be heated downtown in May, June, July and August, as there will be many events in Rio. Essentially national tourism, as the dollar remains high and the war in Europe hits the international. In addition, there is a lack of air seats in the international network. With regard to business tourism, businesses in general have suffered a lot. We notice the return of these events, but always with last minute appointments. But it won’t always be that way, this is due to the moment, because with predictability you get better prices from suppliers. Rio must improve the trade and business environment. These are the events that maintain the occupancy of the hotels: they represent 50 to 60%, depending on the location. And we have hotels that are specifically focused on that. And when you have events, you have a series of expenses that benefit an entire chain in the city. The return of leisure tourism is a beautiful thing, but it is not enough.”

Alfredo Lopes, President of Hotels Rio

“This year will be one of recovery”

Fernando Blower, from Hotels Rio
Fernando Blower, from Hotéis Rio Photo: Ana Branco / Agência O Globo

“In Rio de Janeiro, tourism has a huge impact on bars and restaurants, especially those near a concentration of hotels, such as Barra and Zona Sul, or tourist areas. New Year’s Eve and these two carnivals, although they were not what they were before the pandemic, have a psychological and behavioral aspect, showing a reaction. Domestic tourism is now very strong, but international tourism has not returned. We are delighted that Rio is once again becoming an exponent of tourism in Brazil. This year is still a year of recovery, because in addition to the challenges of the pandemic that we still face today, such as liabilities and debt, there is the pressure of costs and inflation, which will continue. In a difficult year in terms of expenses, it is important to have other sources of income. And tourism is an important vector on this basis. And Rio still has a lot to do and improve. We are better today than we have been in years. We have greatly improved the overall image of the city and reduced bureaucracy. But the city is far from being a particularly attractive place. We have our pains, as in urban control, informality and public safety. Until we solve these problems, our ceiling will always be low.”

Fernando Blower, president of Sind. of bars and restaurants in Rio

“I am very optimistic about 2023”

“Since March, there have been events again that create the moments of reunion that people have been waiting for. We are experiencing a super intense calendar this year with events postponed in 2020 and 2021, boosting tourism and commerce and generating jobs. Outdoor events, especially sports, festivals and concerts, are currently a high priority for the public. The second semester will be a very important period as it will reflect the resumption of investment by brands which, of course, were withdrawn until March and April of this year. And they are now starting to rebuild their investments in live entertainment sponsorship. I am very optimistic about 2023 as the year that is actually clean, from January to January, without any interference from a pandemic and with the full investment of the sponsors. The market as a whole has suffered a lot in these two years and now wants to rebuild the supply chain, fight inflation and reduce the purchasing power of the public. Dream Factory adapted quickly in 2020, grew in 2021 and now, in this 2022 upturn, it is investing in developing new intellectual property for live entertainment and strengthening its business system. We believe in Rio and Brazil.”

Duda Magalhaes, President of Dream Factory

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