Brazil wins on hospitality, loses on traffic

South America

Rio de Janeiro - Foreign World Cup tourists say they are impressed with the hospitality of their host country despite finding fault with services and transport, Brazilian newspaper O Globo reported.

Reporters from the daily compiled the results of straw polls taken in the tournament's 12 cities, which are welcoming about 600 000 visitors from abroad.

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A surfer carries his board along Cacimbinha beach in Tibau do Sul, near Natal, Brazil.Food vendors react to the camera from inside their stand along a street decorated for the World Cup in the Pelourinho neighborhood of Salvador.A man shaves his face in the street in the Pelourinho neighborhood of Salvador.People sleep, sunbathe, play soccer, and relax on the Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro.A boy skates down an alley decorated in the colours of the Brazilian flag at the 2014 soccer World Cup  in Fortaleza.

Chaotic traffic, poor public transport, outdated airport infrastructure and a lack of multilingual tourist information brought a multitude of moans.

But foreign fans were unanimous in praising Brazilian friendliness and hospitality, O Globo said.

Tourists arriving in Rio de Janeiro complained of escalators and elevators not working at the city's international airport.

In the northeast city of Fortaleza, few restaurants provided menus in languages other than Portuguese, leaving waiters to gesture. The tactic is commonplace in Brazil, where many people do not speak English.

In another northeast city, Recife, tourist feedback suggested the language skills of airport staff were likewise lacking - though O Globo said plenty of tourist information was on hand in maps and multilingual pamphlets.

However hotels and restaurants in the business centre of Sao Paulo, a city of 20 million well used to hosting tourists, won praise.

Nonetheless some complained about poor phone coverage on occasion at the Corinthians Arena, which hosted Thursday's opener between Brazil and Croatia.

In Salvador on the northeast coast, many visitors complained about huge traffic jams, with 15-minute trips taking nearer an hour.

Brazil's reputation as being an expensive destination surfaced notably in the capital, Brasilia, where some tourists blasted prices as “more expensive than Miami,” according to O Globo. - Sapa-AFP

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