Two years ago, Brazil spent the most money of any nation preceding it to host the FIFA World Cup. Although the event was incredible, it didn’t do the Brazilian people too many favors. In fact, it enraged them.
Hosting the World Cup is an expensive proposition. In Brazil’s case, this proposition had an $11 billion price tag. In other words, that’s $11 billion that could be spent on services for its people rather than for hosting the World Cup. Understandably, this infuriated the citizens of the developing nation; they would have much rather preferred their tax money be spent on themselves than on the entertainment of the 3.5 billion viewers of the event. Of course, the unforgettable humiliating defeat to the Germans in the Semi-finals will go down as one of the most notable moments in the history of football.
In defense of the government though, the hope was that watching the World Cup would increase the nation’s visibility and convey an image of “happiness and receptivity.” This would in turn dramatically boost the nation’s tourism revenues. While the image that the government wanted to portray may have been expressed successfully, the tourism revenues did not experience the results that were hoped for. While the months leading up to the World Cup experienced increased levels of tourism, levels very quickly receded to normal levels following the event. Hence, the outrage of the Brazilian people was even more justified.
This is not to say that Brazil is an unattractive tourist destination. In fact, the thousands of miles of beaches, the Amazon rainforest, the Iguassu falls, and even the Carnival in Rio de Janeiro are extremely appealing tourist attractions. Despite all of this, the nation has not reached its tourism target for the long term.
As August approaches, Brazil is set to host another event of the same magnitude as the World Cup: The Olympics. The 2016 Olympics are set to be held in the magnificent Rio de Janeiro. This is a milestone for all of South America as it is the first time that the Olympics will be hosted on the continent. Despite this, it is difficult to not have doubts that the event will be a repeat of the disastrous World Cup for the people. It is also important to keep in mind that the nation is currently facing a recession. Also, the proliferation of the Zika virus is not helping tourism. While the current budget for the Olympics is currently at $13 billion, the cost of hosting the events is expected to exceed that.
One has to feel sympathetic for the struggles of the Brazilians. When they were given the opportunity to host the Olympics in 2009, the Brazilian economy was booming. The event was seen as a blessing for the nation; It would give the nation massive publicity. But all the crises that have recently plagued the country have resulted in a very different reception of the event. While talk of the long-term outcome of the Olympics is mere speculation at this point, one can hope for a better result. I hope that the Olympics has a positive impact on Brazil.