Last updated: 10:38 AM ET, Thu August 04 2016

Brazil Hoping Rio Olympics Will Boost Sagging Hotel Traffic

Hotel & Resort | Brian Major | July 26, 2016

Brazil Hoping Rio Olympics Will Boost Sagging Hotel Traffic

PHOTO: Embratur’s partnership with Avianca offers discounted fares for travel to Brazilian cities including Porto Alegre. (photo by Brian Major)

With the Summer Olympics two weeks away, Brazilian tourism officials will be hoping for strong visitor arrivals following a rough stretch for the country’s hotel and resorts. A survey from travel research firm STR issued Tuesday reported decreases across all key performance metrics in the second quarter of 2016.

Brazilian hotel occupancy fell 7.8 percent to 51.6 percent during the quarter, while average daily rate (ADR) was down 3.6 percent and revenue per available room (RevPAR) fell 11.1 percent.

STR analysts cited “(Brazil’s) economic downturn, fear over the Zika virus and steady supply growth ahead of the Summer Olympics” as behind the declines. The country is counting on the Olympics, slated to begin Aug. 6 in Rio de Janeiro, to boost visitor arrivals and hotel stays.

READ MORE: 10 Things to Know About the Brazil Olympic Games

Brazil’s tourism ministry and Embratur, the Brazilian Tourism Board, have launched a variety of initiatives to encourage international travelers to visit the country during the event, including a visa waiver program that exempts visitors from Australia, Canada Japan and the U.S. from standard visa requirements during the Games.

Jose Antonio Silva Parente, Embratur’s interim president said recently the visa waiver would generate a 20 percent increase in arrivals from those countries during the quarter. He said the agency hoped to host 200,000 visitors from the U.S. during the Olympics.

Embratur has also partnered with air carrier Avianca to offer discounted fare packages to Rio de Janeiro and 11 other Brazilian destinations, including Sao Paulo, Porto Alegre, Fortaleza, Salvador, Florianopolis, Recife and Brasilia under an “Enjoy the Charm of Brazil” promotion.

Under the program, the airline is deploying more than 20,000 seats on the company's aircraft to the Brazilian cities during the Olympics. Tickets under the promotion will be available through Nov. 2017 for tourists from Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Peru and Mexico and through Dec. 2017 for American tourists.

READ MORE: What Not to Miss in Rio During the Olympics

STR’s survey also reports mixed second-quarter results for other Latin American destinations. Colombian hotels posted increased occupancy (up 2.4 percent to 56.5 percent), ADR (up 5.8 percent) and RevPAR (up 8.4 percent) while Argentina recorded a 5.5 percent occupancy decline (to 51.9 percent) coupled with a 53.2 percent ADR increase and higher RevPAR (up 44.7 percent).

Santiago, Chile, reported decreases in all three performance metrics while Lima, Peru reported occupancy and RevPAR decreases, but higher ADR.

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