ITATIBA, Brazil—Upbeat music, parties on every street corner, samba dance, and parades: Brazil becomes a destination to hundreds of thousands of foreign tourists each year in February who want to take part in the largest carnival in the world.
This year the carnivals attracted famous artists including South Korean rapper Psy, who performed his hit song Gangnam Style in Salvador, capital of Bahia, before heading over to Rio de Janeiro.
The Rio carnival attracted 900,000 tourists from inside and outside of Brazil this year
There are a number of carnivals in Brazil each year, but the largest by far is Rio’s, named by the Guinness Book of Records as world’s largest carnival.
According to a representative with the Tourism Company of the Municipality of Rio de Janeiro, the event in Rio this year attracted 1.2 million tourists, with around one-third of them coming from outside of Brazil.
Although the festivities were scaled back to some extent this year due to the tragic fire at a nightclub, which claimed the lives of hundreds of people, the party went on as usual. The carnival started Friday, Feb. 8 and ended on Fat Tuesday, Feb. 12.
Samba schools entertained visitors with their rehearsals and took part in the large parades in the streets and the Sambadrome, the purpose-built venue for the Carnival Samba Parade of Rio de Janeiro.
The carnivals in Brazil are expected to have attracted roughly 6.2 million tourists from inside and outside of the nation, and generated $2.9 billion in financial transactions, an increase from last year’s $2.8 billion, according to the country’s ministry of tourism.
A representative with the ministry says that several factors contributed to this rise, including more attention being paid to tourism and additional promotion campaigns, as well as easier and cheaper travel options and payment methods.
“Carnival is one of the busiest times for Brazilian and foreign tourists in the country,” says José Francisco Lopes, the director of the Department of Studies and Research of the Ministry of Tourism, in a statement.
Managing Large Crowds a Challenge
There were an estimated 6 million revelers in Rio taking part in the street celebrations and watching the parade. Managing such large crowds comes with its own challenges, and many people have to work hard to maintain order and provide services while others indulge in the activities.
According to the city, 230 vehicles were fined and 72 vehicles were towed near the Sambadrome during the carnival.
City workers collected 700 tons of garbage during the five-day event, and authorities have charged 671 people with public urination since the start of pre-carnival parades in late January.
Authorities also took special precautions to protect youth from falling prey to human traffickers who kidnap teenagers and force them to work in the sex industry.
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