Rio de Janeiro - After a two-year suspension due to Covid-19, Brazil's Carnival returned this weekend as the tourism sector was worried about a lack of income and employment.
As millions of spectators enjoyed the traditional celebration at an unusual time of the year, the famous "blocos", or musical troupes, returned to parade in the streets in cities such as Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, while samba schools again lit up the Sambadrome, a special venue built for the carnival in Rio de Janeiro.
Originally scheduled for the end of February, the carnival was cancelled for the third straight year after an increase in Covid-19 cases due to the Omicron variant.
However, pressure from the tourism sector over fears of another year without its main season of income and employment led to a rescheduling for the end of April.
Although lacking in thousands of foreign tourists, the carnival was boosted by domestic revellers who pushed hotel occupancy and revived the service sector.
In Rio de Janeiro, the hotel occupancy was between 85 and 90% this weekend, according to the Brazilian Hotel Industry Association.
Other state capitals have also seen high rates, such as 70% in Recife, 65% in Florianopolis, 60% in Natal and 60% in Aracaju.