Rio launches operational plan for World Cup

Rio de Janeiro, May 3 (IANS): Rio de Janeiro Mayor Eduardo Paes has launched the city's operational plans for the 2014 FIFA World Cup that begins June 12.

Rio, one of 12 Brazilian cities hosting matches, will host seven games, including the final July 13 at the world-renowned Maracana Stadium, which has been fully renovated to meet FIFA standards, reports Xinhua.

The city will also host the World Cup's media headquarters and the temporary FIFA head office and press centre.

Rio is expected to draw 600,000 tourists during the event, so to reduce the number of vehicles in circulation and ensure traffic flows smoothly, the city declared a three-day holiday during match days at Maracana Stadium.

Critics claim the holidays will lead to losses in revenue for businesses, but the mayor countered those losses will be offset by tourism.

"The cup is a big win. There will be tourists coming, and businesses and hotels will be at full capacity," he said.

Officials are expecting most visitors to use the city's subway system to get to the stadiums, but a rapid transit bus system, exclusively built to be ready for the World Cup, should also be available during the tournament.

The system had significant delays in construction and not all stations will be fully operational, but authorities expect to have at least a fully operational line linking the international airport to the upscale beachfront neighbourhood of Barra da Tijuca, home to many hotels.

Tourist buses will not be allowed near the Maracana stadium, Paes said, but will instead be diverted to another location, from where tourists will be able to take public transportation to the stadium. This, too, is expected to alleviate traffic.

Authorities said the operational plan has been under development for the past two years, with valuable experience gleaned from other large-scale international events, such as the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in 2012, and World Youth Day and the FIFA Confederations Cup, both in 2013.


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