RIO DE JANEIRO – Some 3,000 tourists who arrived by cruise ship Wednesday at the Port of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil’s tourist mecca, were greeted with the sounds of samba at the start of the new cruise season.
The passengers on Geneva, Switzerland-based MSC Cruises’ MSC Poesia were serenaded by a band made up of Rio’s municipal guards and treated to a dance performance by members of the 2018 Rio Carnival’s royal court, including King Momo and his princesses.
Rain marred the welcome ceremony but did not stop the visitors from posing for photos with the carnival royalty, who provided the new arrivals with tourist information along with local color and atmosphere.
The activity was the first of several that the Municipal Tourism Company of Rio de Janeiro (Riotur) plans to hold during the recently inaugurated summer cruise season, the president of that state tourism agency, Marcelo Alves, said.
Riotur estimates that cruise ships will bring 259,000 visitors to that Brazilian city between November 2017 and April 2018 and that tourists will provide a 324-million-reais ($99.4-million) boost to the local economy during that same period.
Cruise arrivals reach their peak during Reveillon (the traditional New Year’s Eve party on Copacabana beach) and Carnival.
Expectations are high for visitor arrivals, Alves said in a statement, adding that “with the tourist facilities we have we’re going to constantly boost the amount of income generated for the city.”
Rio de Janeiro beat out Miami this year as the world’s top New Year’s Eve destination, Riotur said, citing an international survey.
Rio, one of the most-visited South American cities, is currently facing a wave of violent crime and a severe financial crisis for which Alves said “tourism is the main solution.”