Rio bets on alternative and outdoor itineraries to boost tourism

Rio bets on alternative and outdoor itineraries to boost tourism

In the morning, face a trail in the Tijuca National Park and enjoy a dip in the Horto waterfall. In the afternoon, have lunch at a restaurant with tables on the sidewalk and sunbathe on the sandy beach.

In Rio de Janeiro, authorities expect that the various outdoor leisure options will emerge as a special attraction for tourists, due to the lower risk of contamination by Covid-19 in these spaces. With the advance of vaccination, the pandemic is more under control, but it has not yet come to an end.

Municipal authorities also assess that, with 76% of the entire population with the complete vaccination schedule and hospital occupancy rates in sharp decline, Rio appears as one of the safest options for travelers.

“Rio is a very open city, and, after Covid, I believe that the tendency is for people to look for that. A city that has sea, mountains, where you can do incredible trails, waterfalls, outdoor sports”, he says Daniela Maia, president of RioTur, the city’s tourism company.

Alfredo Lopes, president of Hotéis Rio (Rio de Janeiro’s Accommodation Means Union) and of the Deliberative Council of ABIH-RJ (Brazilian Association of the Hotel Industry), expects most hotels to have 100% occupancy on New Year’s Eve.

On November 22, 40 days before the turnaround, the first preview of hotel occupancy indicated 78% of confirmed reservations for the New Year in Rio, well above the 58% registered in the same period last year. Even in 2019, before the pandemic, the percentage of 80% was reached only in mid-December.

At first, with the rise of the dollar and the fear of contamination on longer flights and in destinations where Covid-19 is growing again, the resumption of tourism should be driven by the domestic market.

Galeão international airport foresees a total of 624,000 passengers during the month of December, an increase of 79% compared to the same period of the previous year. The airport expects to receive 4,200 flights, 540 of which are international and 3,660 are domestic, which corresponds to a 65% retake of seats held before the pandemic in the domestic market, and 27% in the international market.

Even though foreigners move more money in the city, the municipal secretary of Tourism, Bruno Kazuhiro, believes that it is possible to make up for this loss with greater revenue from the national market. He says that there is a great repressed demand from people who want to travel again and that Rio appears as a prominent destination for São Paulo, Minas Gerais, Goiás and residents of the Federal District.

“Rio is not just natural beauty. It’s carioquice, the lifestyle. Tourists come to experience the ‘Carioca way of life’, to walk in flip-flops, eat at a table on the sidewalk, walk to the beach in swim trunks, everything we experience that the guy is not used to living in his city”, he believes.

Kazuhiro also says that the City Hall aims to encourage the decentralization of tourism in the city and boost destinations outside the traditional Corcovado-Pão de Açúcar circuit. Thus, tourists who have already visited Rio may decide to return to discover new places, and travelers who have already arrived may want to stay for more days.

“Rio has culture in Madureira, history in Santa Cruz, gastronomy in Vargem Grande. Several areas can be better publicized,” he says.

One of the City Hall’s initiatives to encourage tourism and generate jobs will be to offer training and qualification courses in the hotel and bar and restaurant sectors as of March. The secretariat plans to serve 1,200 students per year. “We want to show entrepreneurs that it is worth investing in Rio.”

According to Kazuhiro, the expectation for this summer is to equal or surpass the collection with the ISS (Services Tax) in relation to the years prior to the pandemic. In the summer of 2019/2020, the city collected R$ 50 million in services involving tourism.

Occupancy rates in hotels in Rio de Janeiro have been growing every month. November 15 represented the best long holiday of 2021 in terms of occupancy at 95%. On the holiday of Nossa Senhora de Aparecida (12/10), the average was 86.70%, surpassing Independência (7/9), with 85.70%, and Finados (2/11), with 85.66%.

Although corporate tourism, fostered by professional meetings and events that take place in the city, has not yet recovered, the projection is that leisure tourism will grow even more in the coming months.

Lopes, from Hotéis Rio, says that the security measures adopted at the beginning of the pandemic, such as temperature measurement, gel alcohol and cleaning procedures, will continue to apply in hotels. Today, the use of masks in closed spaces is still mandatory in the city.

President of Abrasel (Brazilian Association of Bars and Restaurants) in Rio de Janeiro, Pedro Hermeto says that the sectors projection is very good for the resumption of tourism, with a significant increase in sales. “The expectation arises even because the subject spent two years confined. He wants to go out, celebrate life, allow himself limited benefits.”



Architectural work decorated with colorful tiles by Chilean artist Jorge Selarón, located between Lapa and Santa Teresa.

R. Manuel Carneiro — Santa Teresa. Free.


Beaches on the west side of Rio de Janeiro, 50 kilometers from the city center. Generally calmer and more reserved, with clear waters and a beautiful landscape.

Avenida Estado da Guanabara — Recreio dos Bandeirantes, Grumari. Free.


Region of Health, in the center of Rio, marked by samba circles and good gastronomic options.

Largo São Francisco da Prainha — Health. Free.


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