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Brazil’s glitzy Carnival is back in full swing after the pandemic

Rio expects some US$1 billion in revenue at its bars, hotels and restaurants, and for hotels to reach an 85 per cent occupancy rate.

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Rio expects some US$1 billion in revenue at its bars, hotels and restaurants, and for hotels to reach an 85 per cent occupancy rate.

ARTICLE BY

PUBLISHED

READING TIME

Less than 1 minute Minutes

Brazil’s famous Carnival is back, with some 46 million people expected to join the festivities that officially began Friday and run through 22 February.

While the Rio Carnival takes center stage, the sight of outrageous costumes and the sound of samba will also be hitting the streets in Salvador, Recife, and metropolitan São Paulo.

Covid-19 forced the cancellation of the 2021 carnival and pandemic-related issues saw the delay of last year’s Rio Carnival by two months.

The 2023 Carnival is expected to provide an economic boost for a country still grappling with the economic fallout of Covid.

Rio alone expects a US$1 billion windfall at its bars, hotels and restaurants, and for the city’s hotels to achieve an 85 per cent occupancy rate.

The celebrations kicked off last Friday, with mayors handing the keys to their cities to the Carnival Kings. 

Rio Carnival
Photo by Celso Pupo

Tourists are expected to flock to street parties known as blocos. Rio has permitted more than 600 of them and there are more unofficial ones. The biggest can lure hundreds of thousands of participants.

The premier spectacle takes place at Rio’s Sambadrome. Top samba schools, which are based in Rio’s more working-class neighbourhoods, put on parades with elaborate floats and costumes.

This year’s Carnival has already smashed Sambadrome records, with some 100,000 spectators and staff expected each day at the sold-out venue, plus 18,000 parade participants. 

While President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva is not expected to be among them, his wife Rosângela da Silva has said she will be at the parades.

The first lady’s attendance signals a cultural shift from the administration of former President Jair Bolsonaro, who kept his distance from the nation’s marquee event.

 

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