A Semana: New Year's, Actors In Swimsuits, And A New Wave Of Gang Attacks In Rio

Foreign tourists spent US$ 3.9 billion in the country between January and November. The government estimates that the number for 2007 will reach US$ 4.3 billion, making it the best year for Brazilian tourism ever.

Before heading to New York, actor Dado Dolabella helped to promote tourism in Rio by soaking up the sun at the beach in his usual black swimsuit.

Just a few days before New Year's, gang attacks in Rio this morning have resulted in at least 18 people dead. Three buses have been set on fire, and police stations in different parts of the city were attacked with grenades and automatic fire. Rio mayor Cesar Maia stated that the attacks should not affect New Year's and that security has been reinforced, but hotels are already registering the smallest occupancy rate in the last five years.

Defense Minister Waldir Pires confirmed that the chaos in airports this Christmas was caused partially by TAM Airlines' overbooking of passengers, but delays are expected to continue over the weekend. The crisis in Brazilian airports has already resulted in the cancelation of 5% of international reservations. Government expects 10% of cancelations if the situation in airports does not improve by Friday, resulting in a loss of R$ 10 million in revenue for hotels in Rio.

In spite of all problems, the usual suspects are coming to Rio. Calvin Klein is already there, and models Raica and Ana Beatriz Barros partied the night away.

As sad as I am to report on the violence in Rio and the mess which has taken over airports across the country, I am sure that many of you going to Brazil will have an excellent time this coming weekend. If you feel like using the blog to comment on any problems you may have, feel free to email me. Feel free to send pictures too.


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