Perhaps the most popular sporting event in the world has kicked off in Rio this year, but despite the fact that hotel searches for Brazil have risen by an overwhelming 91% in the lead up to the Olympic Games, conversions to bookings during the same period have fallen by approximately 42%.
This data, from hotel search engine HotelsCombined, demonstrates that the slump for Brazil's hotel industry is still far from over, despite hopes from investors that the Games would provide a much needed boost to the industry and the Brazilian economy.
It appears that although travellers have had their interest in the country piqued by the Games and are keen to browse ideas for accommodation in the city, other factors are preventing them sealing the deal and securing a booking. An article on Tnooz suggested that price, safety concerns and the Zika virus may be to blame whilst the Wall Street Journal added that Brazil's prolonged recession and political crisis may have played their part too.
Although this disparity between interest and commitment to booking points to the fact that a boost to Brazil's tourism industry is not on the cards quite yet, this hasn't stopped hopeful investors putting significant amounts of money and effort into hotel development in Rio.
The Wall Street Journal reported that hotel rooms in the city had risen by more than 50% in the past six years and that there are presently approximately 100 hotels under construction in Brazil. Concerns are rife that this development will benefit the hotel industry as data experts STR revealed that Brazil hotel occupancy was 51.6% in the second quarter of 2016, down from 55.9% in the same period of the previous year.
This isn't to say that it's all doom and gloom for Rio, of course. The drop in value of the Brazilian real has led to increasingly affordable accommodation - an attraction for the international crowd that shouldn't be underestimated. Plus, the economy of the country is expected to take a turn for the positive at some point in the future which should mean a boost in occupancy rates. Hotel developers are clearly playing the long-game.
Additionally, Dmitrijius Konovalovas, UK and Ireland manager at HotelsCombined, suggested that once the Rio Games get into full swing, the industry might well see a sudden rush for late bookings.
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