RIO DE JANEIRO – Fireworks lighting up the night and almost two million people dressed in pure white and dancing to samba rhythms, traditional “caipirinha” drinks in hand, on Copacabana beach, is one of the attractions of one of Rio de Janeiro’s most important celebrations: New Year’s Eve.
Some two million people are expected to turn out for this year’s yearend festivities to enjoy the city’s shows and other events and activities, including some 25 tons of fireworks to be launched from barges moored some 300 meters (yards) off the coast at midnight on Dec. 31.
The president of the Brazilian Hotel Industry Association in Rio de Janeiro state, Alfredo Lopes, told EFE that New Year’s Eve, known here as “Reveillon, is the city’s registered trademark, its calling card,” since that night is considered one of the world’s largest yearend celebrations marked by the huge fireworks display on Rio’s magnificent beach.
The celebrations continue afterwards with musical concerts and a gigantic party guaranteed to last until dawn at which, this year, many well-known artists are scheduled to perform, including Brazilian singer Anitta, accompanied by assorted samba school orchestras.
The celebration will mark the start of the “Rio de Janeiro in January” program aimed at increasing by 20 percent the flow of tourists to the city with an eye toward generating some 6.1 billion reais ($1.855 billion) for local businesses, according to figures prepared by Riotur, the city’s municipal tourism company.
According to the firm’s latest estimates, some 170,000 jobs will be created from the preparations and services available during the celebration, with 2.7 million tourists expected to be on hand and a total harvest of 2.2 billion reais ($669 million) for the Rio economy.
The Brazilian hotel association calculates that hotel reservations for the last night of the year already exceed 80 percent occupancy, considerably above the 64 percent at this time last year.
Prominent among the foreigners visiting Rio during the holiday will be Argentines and Chileans.
In addition to the big beach party, Rio is also offering a huge variety of parties in different hotels, where tickets are going for 450 reais ($137) up to more than 4,000 reais ($1,216), the latter being at the famous Copacabana Palace.
The wave of violence that Rio has experienced this year, causing tremendous insecurity among the local populace and visitors, must not cloud the yearend celebrations, authorities agree, and consequently security is being reinforced to guarantee peace and tranquility for tourists and locals, Lopes said.