names in the tourism and events industry are already feeling on the upswing

For those who want to have fun, Rio will again be the best place. The city already has a full schedule of shows through the end of the year – for all tastes, as well as the return of international touring – at the level of pre-pandemic times. Not to mention, it’s the year of rock in Rio, and tickets sold out quickly – for a day with Justin Bieber, they “flew” in 12 minutes. The event should attract 300,000 tourists to the city, which will increase the occupancy of the hotel chain to almost 100%. The housing sector is coming out of a better than expected season with a “summer” that has extended until the second carnival in April.

The climate is favorable for tourism and entertainment. French company GL Events, which manages the Riocentro and Jeunesse Arena – the largest convention center and largest stage in Rio, like Barra – reopens the convention and exhibition hotel with 306 suites in June.

“There is no better place than Barra. It should be called the city of events, suggests Milena Palumbo from GL Events.

The Dream Factory, which does programming in Marina da Gloria, is getting ready to launch the Rio Marathon in June and ArtRio in September.

However, corporate tourism, an important resource generator as it moves along a branching chain, is still moving slowly. But the announcement of the Web Summit, the world’s largest technology meeting taking place at Riocentro in a year, gives hope: segment expectations are being pushed to 2023.

— When it comes to tourism, we talk from a taxi driver to a manager. This is our main product, it must be treated with care,” says Roberto Medina, the “father” of Rock in Rio.

“It’s one show after another, some sold out”

Milena Palumbo, CEO of GL Events Brazil
Milena Palumbo, CEO of GL Events Brazil Photo: Agencia O Globo

“The entertainment market has tremendous responsiveness because there is pent-up demand from both national and international tours. Jeunesse Arena no longer has holidays until the end of the year. It’s one show after another, some sold out (exhausted). At Marisa Monte’s, we had to open an additional date. The pandemic has shown that culture and entertainment are also important to people, and people are eager to meet artists. It’s a different vibe than a tour in a normal year. But what is magical in the world of entertainment is not repeated in the world of science and technology events and fairs. This segment needs a little more time to recover because it is a more complex production chain. The business environment in Rio has greatly influenced the holding of the fairs. This is a sensitive market, but extremely important because it generates a huge amount of currency for the city. Today Riocentro operates with 50% of what we normally have for medium to large fairs that require a year of planning and fundraising. There is more demand for 2023, but we will not be back to 100% yet, but to about 70%. When you host a web summit in Riocentro, that is a great goal. Rio needs to develop a calendar. Thus, the hotel market is organized and does not depend on the carnival and summer.

Milena Palumbo, CEO of GL Events Brazil

“We are a giant product”

Roberto Medina, entrepreneur who created Rock in Rio.
Roberto Medina, entrepreneur who created Rock in Rio. Photo: Roberto Moreira / Agência O Globo

“We spent two years looking at our limb head-on. I thought that when the mask comes off, people will applaud. But that feeling didn’t exist yet. And Rock in Rio can be that door to celebrate the reunion. It is a privilege to work on something that is the economic asset of the country and at the same time touches people’s souls. The world is very divided, tense, and music is a meeting of different people, because joy has no side. Unfortunately, Brazil does not take the tourism sector very seriously, which is seen as a thrust on the economy. We are a giant product. In the state of Rio, the sector’s impact is 27.5 billion reais per year. Only carnival and rock in Rio bring 5.5 billion reais. And it is a locally generated currency, unlike what happens in the industrial sector, where there is time for projects to mature. We’re in recovery, I have no doubt. At Rock in Rio we will have 85% hotel capacity or even more. There will be 300 thousand tourists. Many people think that a party is an expense and a bridge is an investment. Festa also brings in more money for health care and schools. And in Rio we have a hotel, the beauty of nature, hospitable people. Just open the door, light up the city and don’t miss this opportunity.”

Roberto Medina, entrepreneur who created Rock in Rio.

“Events fill hotels”

“During the pandemic, we were closed for eight months. We relaunched in November 2021, thought the end of the year would be great, but then came the second wave of Covid. We did not close the hotels, but the situation was very difficult. After a slow and gradual recovery, Rio ended exclusively on a sold-out New Year’s Eve. And a carnival without a carnival was 86% occupied. The Royal Carnival with an Avenue Parade scored 81%. This entire period of the extended high season has been one of high occupancy, especially in luxury hotels. Almost all the guests are Brazilians, especially a lot of people with high incomes. This segment focused on recreational tourism should continue to heat up in May, June, July and August in the city center because there will be a lot of activities in Rio. Mostly national tourism, because the dollar remains high, and the war in Europe affects the international one. In addition, there is a shortage of air seats in the international network. In relation to corporate tourism, companies in general have suffered greatly. We are seeing the return of these events, but always with a last minute appointment. But it won’t always be like this, it’s about the moment, because with predictability you get the best prices with suppliers. Rio needs to improve its trading and business environment. It is the events that support the occupancy of hotels: they range from 50 to 60%, depending on the location. And we have hotels dedicated to that. And when you have events, you have a range of expenses that benefit the entire network in the city. The return of recreational tourism is great, but it’s not enough.”

Alfredo Lopez, President of Hotels Rio

“This year is still a recovery year”

Fernando Blower of Hotels Rio
Fernando Blower of Hoteis Rio Photo: Ana Branco / Agência O Globo

“In Rio de Janeiro, tourism has a huge impact on bars and restaurants, especially those near clusters of hotels like Barra and Zona Sul, or tourist areas. New Year’s Eve and these two carnivals, although not what they were before the pandemic, have a psychological and behavioral aspect, manifestations of a reaction. Domestic tourism is now very strong, but international tourism has not returned. We are glad that Rio is once again becoming the tourist center of Brazil. This year is still a year of recovery because, in addition to the pandemic issues we are still facing today, such as liabilities and debt, there are cost and inflation pressures that will still continue. In a difficult year in the field of expenses, it is important to have other income. And tourism is an important vector on this basis. And Rio still has a lot to do and improve. We are better today than we were in years. We have significantly improved the overall image of the city and reduced bureaucracy. But the city is still far from being an extremely attractive place. We have our own problems, such as city control, informality and public safety. Until we resolve these issues, our ceiling will always be low.”

Fernando Blower, President of Sind. bars and restaurants in Rio

“I am very optimistic about 2023”

“Since March, events have returned, creating moments of reunion that people have been waiting for. We have a very busy calendar this year with events that have been rescheduled for 2020 and 2021, stimulating tourism and trade and creating jobs. Outdoor events, especially sports, festivals and concerts, are now a priority for the public. The second semester will be a very important period, as it will reflect the renewed investments of the brands, which, of course, were withdrawn before March and April of this year. And now they’re starting to rebuild their investment in live sponsorship. I am very optimistic about 2023 as a really clean year from January to January, without the intervention of the pandemic and with the full investment of sponsors. The market as a whole has been hit hard in these two years and is now looking to rebuild its production chain, cope with inflation and reduce the purchasing power of the population. Dream Factory quickly adapted in 2020, grew in 2021, and now, during this 2022 recovery, it is investing in developing new entertainment intellectual property and strengthening its business system. We believe in Rio and Brazil.”

Duda Magalhines, President of Dream Factory

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