an end to the Rio hotel saga, for the time being at least

May 22, 2012 | By More

Copacabana y Leme

1. Prices spiraling out of control

It is not the first time we discuss hotel prices in Rio de Janeiro here at the BRAZIL TRAVEL BLOG. Quite likely it won’t be the last either. Flávio Dino is the president of Embratur, the government’s agency responsible for the promotion of tourism in Brazil abroad. He’s not someone likely to shoot himself on the foot. He recently criticized openly the attitude of Rio hotels saying they are practicing “abusive rates”. So much so that the European Union’s delegation to Rio+20 cancelled its participation on the event due to rocketing accommodation costs. Embratur’s chief believes it was a very serious situation. Only three months ago the agency he presides met with representatives from Rio hotels to prevent a dramatic price increase.

The case reached the international media (Mission Impossible: Rio in June). Only after the image of Rio had been tarnished an agreement was reached and hotel owners agreed to more reasonable prices. The damage was done.

The incredible thing is that, not taking into account the prices practiced during the dates of Rio+20, five-star hotels in Rio de Janeiro were already the most expensive in the planet. This was the conclusion of a survey carried out by internet hotel booking company, after analyzing prices charged by 142,000 hotels in 19,800 cities worldwide. The company also ranked the Brazilian cities with the most expensive accommodation. Heading the list, Angra dos Reis, Búzios, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo and Campinas. The note on the survey was published by Rio de Janeiro’s newspaper O Globo: Cinco estrelas do Rio, os mais caros do mundo.

Jardim Botânico

2. More affordable accommodation in on the increase

It couldn’t be otherwise. Brazilian newspaper Folha de São Paulo reflected recently on the rise of the number of youth hostels in Rio de Janiero (read the article, in Portuguese, at: Hostels são repaginados no Rio, de olho na Copa do Mundo). According to the paper, Rio has now 65 youth hostels, many of them opened recently.

The proximity of the World Cup and the Olympic Games have produced a sharp increase in hotel prices. Coupled with that, the reality of the Rio hotelling sector, where the low season is a thing of the past. No wonder many new youth hostels are opening their doors offering a more affordable accommodation alternative for many travelers.

There are many decent people running their hostel business in Rio. Make sure your choice of hostel includes one of those decent folk rather than the few rotten apples in the basket.

3. What’s in store for the World Cup and the Olympic games?

If Rio (and other host cities) hotel owners insist on their current strategy of drawing up to the very last drop of blood from city visitors (we know there are Brazilian hotels planning to force World Cup fans to book rooms for the entire period of the World Cup at the host city where they are located rather than individual nights) we will find an scenario familiar to South Africa (World Cup 2010) or the Ukraine (Euro Cup 2012) where some host cities contemplated how hotel bookings all but vanished.

People want to visit Brazil during the World Cup. But they are not willing to ruin themselves in the process.

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Category: Destination: Rio

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