Brazil’s original jet-set destination prepares to become a global host.
BY MARK CHESNUT
If anything symbolizes the rebirth of Rio de Janeiro, it’s the construction site on Avenida Atlantica in Copacabana. On a prized beachfront corner of real estate, where prostitutes once click-clacked across the stone sidewalk in front of a legendary discotheque called Help, neatly dressed guides now greet visitors with details about the Museu da Imagem e do Som (Museum of Image & Sound), a soaring new piece of architecture that is to be completed next year.
This is one very visible example of how Rio is recasting itself as a tidy, culturally rich host for two massive global events: The 2014 FIFA World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics. With billions of reais pouring into new hotels, attractions, infrastructure, transportation and safety-related projects, it may be difficult for visitors in the coming years not to notice the changes.
ADDING TO THE ALLURE
Most of the public and private investment is aimed at luring more visitors to the city before, during and after the sporting events, for years to come — and also, in some cases, improving the quality of life for locals. The many changes “will leave a legacy that will cause a positive change in the everyday life of residents and consequently a more comfortable experience for visitors,” according to Paulo Senise, executive director of the Rio Convention & Visitors Bureau. “All these factors become …
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