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Jan-Mar 2010
Reviving the Spirit of
Soccer & Samba

The decade 2010-20 belongs to Brazil, one of the fastest developing countries of the world. Brazil, the cradle of football, will be hosting the 2014 World Cup soccer. In 2016, Rio de Janeiro of Brazil, will host the 2016 Summer Olympic Games. The Brazilian authorities have begun preparations on a massive scale to please the world and to make the country one of the most hospitable places on Earth. In October last year, when the International Olympic Committee announced that the 2016 Olympics will be held in Rio de Janeiro, an emotional Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva dabbed his eyes with a handkerchief several times during a news conference held soon after. "Our hour has arrived," he said. "It has arrived." In Rio, jubilation erupted at the world-famous Copacabana beach, where thousands of people gathered to hear the announcement. Rio organizers promised to start working immediately to make the games a success. For Rio, a major appeal was bringing the Olympics to South America for the first time. IOC President Jacques Rogge said in the news conference afterward that in addition to its excellent bid, Rio had the "extra added value of going for the first time to a continent that's never had the games.”

It is the first time the World Cup is being held in South America since Argentina hosted, and won, the 1978 tournament. Brazil have won the tournament a record five times and hosted the World Cup once before, in 1950, when they lost 2-1 in the final to Uruguay.

Brazil is setting aside around £550m to update its stadiums, including the Maracana in Rio de Janeiro which hosted the 1950 World Cup final. That money will be spent in several areas as FIFA's inspection report has identified 18 grounds with more than 40,000 capacity that could host games. These will be whittled down to nine or 10 in time for the big kick off in 2014.

FIFA President Joseph S Blatter said he had been impressed by Brazil's plans for 2014, despite the fact they were the only bidders following Colombia's withdrawal.

"There was an extraordinary presentation by the delegation and we witnessed that this World Cup will have such a big social and cultural impact in Brazil. This is the country that has given to the world the best football and the best footballers, and they are five-times world champions."

With Brazil hosting the games, football fans from all over the world can look forward to a month of carnival style celebrations during the 2014 World Cup tournament with the added bonus of a fanatical home support for the boys in yellow as they search for yet another World Cup title, this time on home soil.

More than half of Rio's Olympic venues are built, including state-of-the-art facilities constructed for the 2007 Pan and Parapan American Games: the magnificent Joao Havelange Stadium (the proposed 2016 venue for athletics), the Maria Lenk Aquatic Center, the Rio Olympic Arena (which will host gymnastics and wheelchair basketball), the Rio Olympic Velodrome, the National Equestrian Center and its close neighbor, the National Shooting Center. Rio will hold the games from 5 -21 August 2016 and its theme will be "Live your passion." According to Rio's bid, the games will be held in four zones with varying socioeconomic characteristics:

• Barra, the heart of the games, is an expanding area of Rio that will require "considerable infrastructure and accommodation development." It will house the Olympic and media villages and some venues.

• Copacabana, a world-famous beach and major tourist attraction, will host outdoor sports in temporary venues.

• Maracana the most densely populated of the zones, will contain an athletic stadium and the Maracana Stadium, which will host the opening and closing ceremonies. Major redevelopment is planned for the zone.

• Deodoro has little infrastructure, but the highest proportion of young people. It will require construction of Olympic venues. The city's bid was helped by a strong economy and guaranteed funding. Brazil's economy is the 10th largest in the world and predicted to be fifth by 2016.

The areas around it will be renovated, with improved access and transportation links. The entire neighborhood will be reborn, the Rio committee said, to host the final of the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
Brazilian President Lula da Silva was joined by soccer legend Pelé as they advertised the benefits of a Rio games. He said, "Among the 10 major economies of the world, Brazil was the only country that had not received the Olympic and Paralympic Games. For us, it will hardly be our last Olympics. For us, it will be an opportunity to be equal. It will increase self-esteem for Brazilians, will consolidate recent conquests.”

The two most important global sporting events of the decade have put the Brazilian tourism and hospitality industry on its toes to promote the country. This message is reaching out to every corner of the globe.

Speaking to reporters in the eastern city of Kolkata recently, Brazil's Ambassador to India Marco Brandao invited Indian companies to invest in the hospitality sector ahead of the World Cup in 2014 and Olympics in 2016 both sporting events to be held in his country.

The Federation of International Football Associations (FIFA) has selected 12 Brazilian cities to host matches at the 2014 World Cup finals. These are:

• Rio de Janeiro • Sao Paulo • Manaus • Belo Horizonte • Natal • Fortaleza • Curitiba • Salvador
• Brasilia • Cuiaba • Recife • Porto Alegre.

Rio de Janeiro: Rio de Janeiro is famous for its natural settings, its carnival celebrations, samba, Bossa Nova and hotel-lined tourist beaches, such as Copacabana, Ipanema and Leblon. Some of the most famous landmarks in addition to the beaches include the giant statue of Christ, known as Christ the Redeemer ('Cristo Redentor') atop Corcovado mountain, named one of the New Seven Wonders of the World; Sugarloaf mountain (Pão de Açúcar) with its cable car; the Sambódromo, a giant permanent parade avenue lined with grandstands which is used during Carnival; and Maracanã stadium, one of the world's largest football stadiums. Rio de Janeiro will host the 2016 Summer Olympics, and will be the first South American city to host the event.[6]

The city also boasts the largest and second largest urban forests in the world: Floresta da Tijuca, or "Tijuca Forest."[7] and (almost connected to the first) the forest in Parque Estadual da Pedra Branca, or White Stone State Park.

Carnival: Carnival, or Carnaval, from Latin "Carnevale", is an annual celebration in the Roman Catholic tradition that allows merry-making and red meat consumption before the more sober 40 days of Lent penance which culminates with Holy or Passion Week and Easter. The tradition of Carnival parades was probably influenced by the French or German courts and the custom was brought by the Portuguese or Brazilian Imperial families who had Bourbon and Austrian descents. Up until the time of the marchinhas, the revelry was more of a high class and Caucasian-led event. The influence of the African-Brazilian drums and music was more noticeable from the first half of the 20th century. Rio de Janeiro has many Carnival choices, including the famous samba school (Escolas de Samba) parades in the sambadrome exhibition center and the popular blocos de carnaval, street revelry, which parade in almost every corner of the city.

In 1840, the first Carnaval was celebrated with a masked ball. As years passed, adorned floats and costumed revelers became a tradition amongst the celebrants. Carnaval is known as a historic root of Brazilian music.

Copacabana Beach: Every December 31, 2.5 million people gather at Copacabana Beach to celebrate New Year's in Rio de Janeiro. The crowd, mostly dressed in white, celebrates all night at the hundreds of different shows and events along the beach. It is the second largest celebration only next to the Carnival. People celebrate the New Year by sharing chilled Champagne with total strangers. It is considered good luck to shake the Champagne bottle and spray around at midnight. Chilled Champagne adds to the spirit of the festivities.[Largest New Years celebration in Brazil takes place on Copacabana beach. Entrance is free, peace is absolute, and security is guaranteed. There are four kilometers of fireworks exploding in the sky. The people, mostly dressed in white, coming from the four corners of the world, bid farewell to the year that is ending and toast the arrival of the new year. They boast one of the largest fireworks displays in the world lasting about 22 minutes and illuminating the beauty of Copacabana Beach in various colors.

Rio has an extensive nightlife scene. Clubs like Baronneti, Hideaway, Icy, Nuth, Zero Zero, The Week and Catwalk are some of the country's and world's best known and frequented by celebrities such as Madonna, Ronaldo, Calvin Klein, Mick Jagger, and Naomi Campbell.

Sao Paulo: São Paulo is South America's largest city. The industrial growth and cultural variety of the city have made this place home to several well-cultured and well-educated people of the country. The liveliness of the local inhabitants would definitely add more color to your travel experience here. The popular tourist attractions here include Niemeyer's Edifício Copan, the baroque Teatro Municipal, the Patío do Colégio and the Museu de Arte de Sáo Paulo (MASP) etc.
Manaus: Manaus is the capital of the state of Amazonas. It is situated at the confluence of the Negro and Solimões rivers. It is the most populous city of Amazonas and is a popular ecotourist destination.

Manaus is a cosmopolitan city, and, because of its location next to the Amazon rain forest, it attracts a substantial number of Brazilian and foreign tourists, who can find plenty of boat and land trips into the surrounding jungle. A great diversity of wildlife can be found even in the surroundings of Manaus. It is also home to one of the most endangered primates in Brazil, the Pied tamarin.

Tour boats leave Manaus to see the Meeting of the Waters, where the black waters of the Negro River meet the brown waters of the Solimoes River, flowing side by side without mixing for about 9 km. Visitors can also explore river banks and "igarapes", swim and canoe in placid lakes or simply walk in the lush forest or stay at hotels in the jungle.

About 18 km from downtown is Ponta Negra beach, a neighbourhood that has a beachfront and popular nightlife area. A luxurious hotel is located at the west end of Ponta Negra; its small but very interesting zoo and orchid greenhouse as well as preserved woods and beach are open for public visits.

The Mercado Adolpho Lisboa, founded in 1882, is the city's oldest marketplace, trading in fruit, vegetables, and especially fish. It is a copy of the Les Halles market of Paris. Other interesting historical sites include the customs building, of mixed styles and medieval inspiration; the Rio Negro Palace cultural center; and the Justice Palace, right next to the Amazonas Opera House.

Manaus has also many large parks with native forest preservation areas, such as the Bosque da Ciência and Parque do Mindú. The largest urban forest in the world is located within Federal University of Amazonas, which was founded in January 17, 1909 and is the oldest federal university of Brazil.

The city has a busy cultural calendar throughout the year, including the Opera, Theater, Jazz and Cinema festivals, as well as Boi Manaus (usually held around Manaus' anniversary on the 24th of October), which is a great celebration of Northern Brazilian culture through Boi-Bumbá music.

Belo Horizonte: Belo Horizonte or Beautiful Horizon is the capital of the state of Minas Gerais and is located in the southeastern region of Brazil. It is the third-largest metropolitan area in the country.

The city features a mixture of contemporary and classical buildings, and hosts several modern Brazilian architectural icons, most notably the Pampulha Complex. In planning the city, Aarão Reis and Francisco Bicalho sought inspiration in the urban planning of Washington D.C.[2] The city has employed notable programs in urban revitalization and food security, for which is has been awarded international accolades.

The city is built on several hills and completely surrounded by mountains. There are several large parks in the immediate surroundings of Belo Horizonte. The "Parque das Mangabeiras", located six kilometres south-east from the city centre in the hills of the Serra do Curral, affords a view over the city. It has an area of 580 acres, of which 220 acres is native forest. The "Mata do Jambeiro" nature reserve extends over 912 hectares (2,250 acres), with vegetation typical of the Atlantic forest. More than one hundred species of bird inhabit the reserve, as well as ten different species of mammal.

Belo Horizonte has several significant cultural landmarks, many of them situated in the Pampulha district, where there are notable examples of Brazilian contemporary architecture. These include one of the largest soccer stadiums in the world, the Mineirão stadium, and the São Francisco de Assis Church, widely known as Igreja da Pampulha, designed by Brazilian Modernist architect Oscar Niemeyer. In Pampulha there is also the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais campus, whose buildings themselves are important contributions to the city's architecture. Other notable Pampulha buildings include the Mesbla and Niemeyer buildings, in addition to the headquarters of corporations such as Usiminas, Seculus, and Telemig Celular.

In downtown Belo Horizonte, are located the neo-Gothic Boa Viagem Cathedral, the church of São José, the Praça da Estação (Station Square), which is an old train station that now is also the Museum of Arts and Workmanship, the Municipal Park, the famous Sete de Setembro Square, where an Obelisk built in 1922 marks the one hundred years of Brazilian independence from Portugal.

Near downtown, in the Lourdes neighborhood, the Lourdes Basilica is located, which is an example of Gothic Revival style. The Nossa Senhora de Fátima Church, in Santo Agostinho neighborhood, is situated in Carlos Chagas Square. Both churches are referred to as the Assembléia Church and the Assembléia Square because of their proximity to the state's legislative assembly.

Natal: This is the capital city of The State of Rio Grande do Norte. It is considered the sunniest region of Brazil. It is situated 2500 km from de Brasília and 2750 km from Rio de Janeiro.

Natal is well known because of its beautiful beaches with white sand, blue sea, dunes, coconut trees and natural pools which are formed by coral reeves. The littoral of Rio Grande do Norte covers 399 km of quiet beaches, some of them, ideal for surfing.

In the eight-kilometer avenue "Via Costeira", which surrounds the sea, there are various hotels, bars and restaurants. Near to this avenue, the famous beach of Ponta Negra concentrates bars and restaurants too. In Natal, the trips to the dunes, called "buggy", are very popular. It is interesting to visit Dunas de Genipabu Park Ecologic Redinha (small town of fisherman). Bahias Protegidas de Tibau do Sul Morro do Careca, Beach of Pipa.

Beach, dunes and lagoon of Genipabu: It is located in Extremos city- in the great Natal. It occupies an area of 1.881 hectares, is the most famous landscape (in the postcards) of the state; it is possible to have the most radical buggy rides. Finally, the visitor will enjoy the wonderful view to the lagoon of Genipabu with its exuberant vegetation and blue waters.

Lagoon of Pitangui: It has dark and not very deep waters, ideal for swimming, riding aquatic bikes and fall by an aerial cable. It provides lifeguards, bars and restaurants.

Beach of Maracajau: The Maracajau beach is a fishers´ village that conserves yet its traditions and forms part of the protected area known as APA dos Corais of Maracajau. The local is a natural aquarium of 13 square Km, excellent place for diving into warm and clear waters among the corals; it stands out by its richness and colorful fauna and flora.

Dunes and lagoon of Jacuma: The local forms part of dunes complex of the state coast and have low vegetation. In the middle, there is a lagoon where the visitors will enjoy a delightful bath and fall into the water using an aerial cable.

Fortaleza: Fortaleza is the state capital of Ceará, located in Northeastern Brazil. To the north of the city lies the Atlantic Ocean; to the south are the cities of Pacatuba, Eusébio, Maracanaú and Itaitinga; to the east is the county of Aquiraz and the Atlantic Ocean; and to the west is the city of Caucaia.

Of the urban beaches in Fortaleza, Praia do Futuro is the most frequented and is characterized by restaurants along the beach, each one with its own musical style and decoration.

The statue of Iracema refers to the legend of the Indian which was depicted in a novel by José de Alencar, a famous Brazilian author who originated from Fortaleza.

Curitiba: Curitiba, standing some 3,000 feet above sea level on the plateau of Serra do Mar, is the capital of the progressive state of Parana. Since the late 1800's, Curitiba's bracing climate and picturesque location have attracted immigrants of Slav, German, and Italian origin. Curitiba grew rapidly after 1950 and it is known for the sensible manner in which it became a major city without losing a comfortable life-style. The city derives its economic prosperity from its role as commercial and processing center for the expanding agricultural and ranch areas in the interior of the state. The population of this environmentally conscious capital has about 1,500,000 inhabitants.

Curitiba, perhaps the best planned city in Brazil and an international model for sustainable development, is more than simply the result of a few successful projects. The city's achievements are the result of strategic, integrated urban planning. This overarching strategy informs all aspects of urban planning, including social, economic and environmental programs.

Curitiba is referred to as the ecological capital of Brazil, with a network of 28 parks and wooded areas. In 1970, there was less than 1 square meter of green space per person; now there are 52 square meters for each person. Residents planted 1.5 million trees along city streets. Builders get tax breaks if their projects include green space. Flood waters diverted into new lakes in parks solved the problem of dangerous flooding, while also protecting valley floors and riverbanks, acting as a barrier to illegal occupation, and providing aesthetic and recreational value to the thousands of people who use city parks.

Salvador: Salvador da Bahia is a city on the northeast coast of Brazil and the capital of the Northeastern Brazilian state of Bahia. Salvador is also known as Brazil's capital of happiness due to its easygoing population and countless popular outdoor parties, including its street carnival. The first colonial capital of Brazil, the city is one of the oldest in the country and in the New World.

The city of Salvador is notable in Brazil for its cuisine, music and architecture, and its metropolitan area is the wealthiest in Brazil's Northeast, its poorest region. The historical center of Salvador, frequently called the Pelourinho, is renowned for its Portuguese colonial architecture with historical monuments dating from the 17th through the 19th centuries and has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1985.

Salvador is located on a small, roughly triangular peninsula that separates Todos os Santos Bay from the open waters of the Atlantic Ocean. The bay, which gets its name from having been discovered on All Saints' Day forms a natural harbor. Salvador is a major export port, lying at the heart of the Recôncavo Baiano, a rich agricultural and industrial region encompassing the northern portion of coastal Bahia. The local terrain is diverse ranging from flat to rolling to hills and low mountains.

Brasilia: Brasilia, the capital of Brazil, is one of the world's well-planned cities. It officially became the capital in 1960. Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer designed the major official buildings. The city, which was otherwise dry, yellow and barren, was changed into an attractive one in a span of just three years, from 1957 to 1960.

Cuiaba: Cuiabá is the capital city of the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso. It is located in the exact centre of South America and is in conurbation with the neighbouring town of Várzea Grande.

The name is of obscure Indian origin, reportedly meaning "arrow-fishing" and alludes to the Bororo custom of using arrows to fish. Another version says that there was an Indian group called Ykuiapá. Others say that a Portuguese man was taking a bath in the river using a kind of plate made with half coconut (named cuia), and the stream took it, and the man said: Cuia ba (something like "the cuia is gone"). The largest pole of tourism, economy, agro industry, trade and culture of the State.

The new Marechal Rondon International Airport connects Cuiabá with many Brazilian cities and also operates some international flights.

The city is home to the Federal University of Mato Grosso.

Recife: Recife (Portuguese pronunciation: [?e'sifi] (listen)) is the 5th [1] largest Metropolitan area in Brazil with 3,768,902 inhabitants, the largest metropolitan area of the North/Northeast Regions, the 4th largest metropolitan influence area in Brazil, and the capital of the state of Pernambuco. The population of the city proper was 1,561,659[2] in 2009. Recife is located where the Beberibe River meets the Capibaribe River to flow into the Atlantic Ocean. It is a major port on the Atlantic Ocean. The name Recife means "reef" in Portuguese, in allusion to the coral reefs that are present by the city's shores. The many rivers, small islands and over 50 bridges found in Recife city center characterize its geography and gives it the moniker of the "Brazilian Venice."

The celebrations, holidays and other events are numerous during the whole year. Thus the New Year begins at the beach, Praia de Boa Viagem and in Old Recife. The carnival of Recife and Olinda (which has its historic town center considered world heritage site by UNESCO in 1982) begins many weeks ahead in December with innumerable balls and parades. In the city, the carnival festivities begin in December, as locals begin preparing for the official Carnival, which starts the week before Ash Wednesday. The pre-Carnival parties usually consist of percussion groups practicing in local clubs, city streets and squares, and even Carnival balls. There is a variety of rhythms from different cultures. Carnival officially starts with the Galo da Madrugada, a party in Downtown Recife attracting many people from several States of Brazil, and other parts of the world.

Nature has a special place in Dois Irmãos Park, 387 hectares of Atlantic Forest reserve and 14 hectares of botanical gardens. There are also 800 wild animals, the Natural Science Museum and various ecological trails.[31] The metropolitan area has also a giant water park 20 km North of Recife, called Veneza water park which has nearly one million sq/ft of area, ten millions litres of water and lots of water slides for the youngsters.

Porto Alegre: Porto Alegre, the largest city in southern Brazil, is the capital of the state of Rio Grande do Sul, land of the Gauchos, and churrasco. The city, located on the Guaiba River, was founded in 1742 by immigrants from the Azores. Since the 19th century the city has received numerous from other parts of the world, particularly Germany, Poland, and Italy. Located at the junction of five rivers, it has become an important alluvial port as well as one of the chief industrial and commercial centers in Brazil. With the advent of the Mercosul accord it should grow and prosper. Products of the rich agricultural and pastoral hinterland, such as soybeans, leather, canned beef, and rice, are exported from Porto Alegre to destinations as far away as Africa and Japan. It has a population of about 1,500,000 inhabitants.