Bikinis and Havaiana flip flops aside, tourists are being forced to dig deep into their wallets in the city of soccer and sand with average to high-end hotels, reportedly on FIFA’s instructions, charging three times the normal tariffs and raking in the moolah during the World Cup.
For a deluxe room in a five-star hotel that normally costs USD 200-250 a night, soccer fans are being made to shell out USD 700-800, courtesy the world football governing body.
“FIFA has taken over all the hotels not just in Rio but across the country, especially host cities; it has instructed the hotels to spike its tariffs as that way they will end up making a lot of profits,” said Sanjeev Mehra, a director with an established travel agency in India and who is in Brazil for heading a package trip.
“Apart from the hotel people, I have been speaking to the top guys in FIFA for months for bookings. During the World Cup time in Brazil, one has to go through FIFA. You need contacts there and this credit business does not work with FIFA. They want instant payment,” Mehra, who has been to Brazil twice before the ongoing visit and heads Aryan Holidays and Leisure, said.
He added: “During my current trip, one room costs USD 800 a night, just imagine. It’s madness.”Add food, game tickets and other miscellaneous expenses, and a solo traveller to Rio de Janeiro will surely end up making a hole in his or her pocket. “I just cannot understand the pricing in Rio. Though we love coming to this city , the sky-high prices are not worth it,” said a tourist from Ireland.
“I had been to this place in the past as well, but the price rise has been the highest this time around.”
While souvenir shops around popular tourist attractions such as Christ The Redeemer and Sugarloaf Mountain are making a killing, the flea market in the heart of Copacabana beach has emerged as an affordable option for tourists.
They are open till as late as 1 am in the morning and are crowded by tourists from all over the world.