So, who wants to go to Brazil?

So, who wants to go to Brazil?

The South American beauty has certainly been a gift for the television cameras over the past month, with striking images such as the sun rising in front of Rio’s Christ the Redeemer statue and sweeping shots across the Amazon rainforest.

(Pictures of beautiful bodies in skimpy swimwear probably haven’t done any harm, either.)

Images of beautiful bodies on Copacabana and Ipanema beaches haven't done Brazil's tourism image any harm.
Images of beautiful bodies on Copacabana and Ipanema beaches haven't done Brazil's tourism image any harm. Photo: Getty Images

After all the hype and excitement of the weekend’s World Cup final, are you keen to go and see the host nation for yourself?

Travel agencies and online booking engines say there has been a surge of interest in travel to Brazil in the wake of the event.

Flight comparison website Skycanner says searches for flights to Brazil over the next six months are up a solid 32 per cent on last year’s figures.

Copacabana and Sugar Loaf mountain in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Copacabana and Sugar Loaf mountain in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Photo: AFP

Expedia says demand for Brazil is up 87 per cent on last year, while Flight Centre says many travellers have been looking to factor Brazil into round-the-world airfares.

The managing director of the Melbourne-based South America Travel Centre, Alex Burridge, says World Cup-related publicity for Brazil has been “fantastic”, with lesser-known destinations featuring along with landmarks.

“People’s horizons for what they want to see and do would have been widened beyond Rio and the Amazon,” Burridge says.

“I think we will see the benefits of that.”

The question is how long the interest will last.

A spokeswoman for HotelsCombined, Alycia Simons, says major events such as the World Cup and Olympic Games do tend to create an increase in international bookings after as well as during the event.

“The 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games saw an 80 per cent increase in international traffic for the summer period following the Olympic Games,” Simons says.

“The 2012 London Olympics were very profitable for London, generating increased and more sustained growth in international bookings in the year following the Games.”

The travel agency group Escape Travel says the London Olympics produced a marked increase in bookings to Europe.

While 2012 was all about short stays centred on the event, the following year saw demand for longer holidays.

Research by Roy Morgan in the lead-up to the World Cup found soccer fans were far more likely than the average Australian to want to take a holiday in that part of the world in the next two years.

Those classified as World Cup viewers were 62 per cent more likely to name Mexico, Central and South America as a preferred holiday destination.

However, the hotel comparison company Trivago believes it might be a lot of wishful thinking.

Spokeswoman Bianca Delbao says year-on-year searches for Brazil are up more than 200 per cent but closer analysis suggests interest is in the event rather than the destination.

Much of the increase came in a last-minute surge just before the World Cup started, while hotel prices are set to drop by the end of this week.

“In Rio de Janeiro, for example, the average price of a hotel drops 45 per cent, from $415 per night during the World Cup to $230 per night the week after the final,” Delbao says.

The same pattern is emerging for the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, with hotel prices back to normal levels for bookings just one week after the event.

Delbao says for the recent UK rugby visit to New Zealand, the majority of accommodation searches were only for the destinations hosting the games, with search patterns back to normal within a week.

“From our data we can see that that those searching for destinations surrounding events are interested in the events only, rather than the exposure of a country due to an event enticing travellers to see the host country,” she says.

“Although events like the World Cup have an impact, they have yet to reach the same impact in searches as seasonality.”

If you have been inspired to visit Brazil in the wake of the World Cup, Alex Burridge of the South America Travel Centre warns that timing is crucial.

Burridge advises against travelling straight away, saying many World Cup visitors will be staying on to explore, making it busy and expensive.

“Stay away from the World Cup … the best travel experiences are when there are fewer people around,” he says.

However, Burridge warns travellers who want to fit in a visit before Rio’s 2016 Olympic Games to start planning now.

“You’ve probably got an 18-month window and anyone who wants to go should get onto it immediately,” he says.

Many smaller accommodation properties in Brazil are booked out six to 10 months ahead and there can also be timing issues for flights and permits.

Burridge says last-minute planning for South America can be “difficult”, not to mention more expensive.

Do you think the World Cup coverage increased Brazil's attractiveness as a destination? Are you planning to visit? Post your comments below.

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