Rio Is Ready, Are You?

with Adrienne Lem Burkett

l-r: Tony Celio, Manager, Specialty Sales, Air Canada; Elisia Teixeira, Consulate General of Brazil; Andrea Raeder, Congresses & Tourism Department, Rio CVB; Syed Hussain, Regional Sales Manager, Air Canada; Helene Larway, Regional Sales Manager, Air Canada & Michael Nagy, Commercial Director, Rio CVB

Jenn Sounn & Savanah Andrews, Aero Travel

Sherryl McBride, Marlin Travel & Sandra Tompkins, Tier One Travel

The moment Rio was named the host city for the 2016 Summer Olympics, officials have been busy preparing to welcome the millions of expected visitors. But if your clients are not one of the many who will flock to the biggest sporting event on the planet, the months surrounding the Olympics are also ideal travel times for Canadians.

That’s why the Rio CVB, in partnership with Air Canada, embarked on a cross-country road show promoting the vibrant Brazilian city, apart from the draw of the Summer Games. Along with some of the destination’s top hoteliers and suppliers, stops were made last week in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver and Calgary.

“There’s a lot of sales potential for the ease of travel to Brazil,” said Elisia Teixeira, Brazil’s Consulate General during the Calgary presentation. After visa application difficulties leading up to the 2015 World Cup, officials have implemented a visa waiver for Canadians travelling from 01JUN thru 18SEP, 2016. (A sigh of relief could be heard across the room. The Calgary-based agents in attendance were very receptive.)

“This is one of the 1st Brazil events, that I know of, that has taken place here in Calgary,” said Sandra Tompkins, Tier One Travel. “Calgarians are looking for a different experience, like Rio – with a more local feel.”

In the past, Rio has been considered more of a 3-4 night destination. But with the city’s recent reform, Michael Nagy, Director of the Rio CVB, says visitors could easily stay up to 2 weeks without having done or seen the same thing twice. Areas to highlight include the city’s downtown area, the south zone and Barra de Tijuca.

“Rio is not your all inclusive experience,” said Air Canada’s Regional Sales Manager Syed Hussain. “But you will come back from Rio spending less.”

“Because of the Canadian dollar, Rio is a great option,” said Jenn Sounn, Aero Travel. “Once you get there, everything is more affordable. The airfare isn’t bad either.”

Air Canada is the only carrier to offer a non-stop service from YYZ to GIG, operating 3 times weekly with good connections from YYC.

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