Rio de Janeiro, Aug 22 (IANS) Billions of viewers around the world watched the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and would have seen the city’s iconic landscape, from Corcovado to Sugarloaf mountain, the Rodrigo de Freitas lagoon and the city’s famous coastline.

Rio, a charming and beautiful city, got a tremendous exposure by hosting the Games and hopes to capitalise on the upshot achieved through a tourism boost as one of the enduring legacies of the global sporting extravaganza.

Based on the findings taken from the three previous Olympic host cities Athens, Beijing and London, Brazil’s Ministry of Tourism expects a six percent increase in the number of visitors to the country over the next year.

“This is what we expect, it could even exceed this estimate,” said Jun Yamamoto, the Ministry of Tourism’s Director of planning and strategic management, according to the Games’ official website on Sunday.

Rio received around 5,00,000 visitors during the Olympic Games. According to a survey carried out by the Ministry of Tourism, 87.7 percent of foreign tourists intend to come back to Brazil.

Tourists from America lead the list of numbers of foreign visitors at the Games at 21.2 per cent, followed by Argentinians 14.8 per cent and Britons 4.8 per cent.

In order to host so many people, Rio’s hospitality industry added 20,000 rooms and today has 50,000 rooms in total, according to the Brazilian Hotel Industry Association. It is considered to be one of the legacies of the Rio Games.

To increase the competitiveness of its national tourism, Brazil invested in the qualifications of professionals within the sector, in the improvement for sign-posting for visitors and in the marketing of primary tourist destinations.

But the athletes themselves also contributed to Brazil’s positive marketing.

Swimming legend Michael Phelps wrote a touching tribute to Brazil and its people on Twitter: “As nice as it is to be home, I already miss the beauty of Rio and the friendliness of its people. Thank you Rio for hosting the…”

Around 83.1 percent of foreign tourists and 98.7 percent of Brazilians said their experience of Rio either met or exceeded their expectations, according to the Games’ official website.

A survey by the Ministry of Tourism has revealed good satisfaction levels from tourists in the areas of security, public transport, infrastructure and prices.

    The IANS was founded by Indian American publisher Gopal Raju as the India Abroad News Service. It was later renamed the Indo-Asian News Service.

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