Brazil insists it will strive to keep prices in check for the Copa du Mundo 2014.
BRAZIL’S tourist chief last week said the country will strive to keep prices in check for next year’s World Cup, amid soaring costs for hotels and flights.
Brazil expects to net as much as Reais25bil (RM36bil) from the tournament from some three million domestic tourists and 600,000 foreign arrivals.
But with flight and accommodation packages hitting the US$10,000 (RM31,640) mark, some fan groups in Europe and beyond have been questioning whether they will make the trip.
Flavio Dino, president of the Embratur tourist operator, insists Brazil is doing all it can to keep prices in check after the government created an inter-ministerial committee to that effect.
”It is important to recognize the importance of tourism,” Dino told foreign media, noting that some 10 million jobs depend on the sector directly or indirectly.
Although he regarded price increases as a normal phenomenon in a period of high demand “we need objective criteria for such increases,” said Dino, amid reports some hotels have hiked prices for next June by some 500%.
Dubbing Brazil a “perfect fit” for the World Cup, Dino said the tourist board and the government wanted to prevent abuses – “but we need to ensure supply keeps up with demand.”
He added Brazil was monitoring prices to avoid having the World Cup become “too expensive” for the fans.
But Dino stressed hoteliers were by law allowed to set their prices and also underlined that packages are being offered through world football body FIFA’s accommodation agency MATCH, over which Embratur has no influence.
MATCH drew up packages with some 800 hotels across the 12 venue cities shortly after Brazil was awarded the event in 2007.
In August, Embratur said it had urged FIFA and tour operators to rein in price increases which it blasted as “stratospheric.”.
”The government can’t fix prices in a market economy,” said Dino, but he added the justice ministry, responsible for consumer rights and competition and consumer law, would be brought to bear in a bid to hinder price abuse.
Dino said Embratur were still waiting on FIFA data to determine how many fans would come to Brazil, based on a first round of ticket sales in August which was “heavily oversubscribed,” according to FIFA.
Dino also repeated a suggestion he made last month that Brazil, striving to bolster airport capacity and revamp sagging infrastructure, might use foreign airlines already flying international routes to Brazil to bolster domestic flight capacity within the country during the tournament.
He told reporters there was an “internal debate” on the issue.
Dino said he expected the United States to provide one of the largest fan contingents, along with Brazil’s neighbours Argentina and Uruguay, with Germany and England heading European arrivals.
But he admitted that visa requirements for visitors from the United States were an obstacle and that current restrictions should be lifted.
”There is no reason for the United States to maintain visa requirements for Brazilian tourists,” he concluded. – AFP Relaxnews