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Brazilians Will Study English And Spanish To Host Tourists For The 2014 World Cup

By Dialogo
August 19, 2009

The Brazilian Tourism Ministry has announced that it will give classes in English and Spanish to 300,000 tourism professionals as part of the preparations to host an increased influx of tourists during the 2014 soccer World Cup. The program will involve an investment of 15 million reais (around 8 million dollars) and will be implemented in the twelve cities that will host World Cup matches and in the country’s sixty-five most popular tourist destinations, according to an address by the minister, Luiz Barretto, at a hotel-industry congress in Rio de Janeiro. Hotel, bar, and restaurant employees, as well as other individuals who work directly with tourists, such as taxi drivers, will receive language classes, the official specified. Brazil expects to host around half a million foreign tourists during the month that the World Cup will last, according to studies cited by the Brazilian government. Currently, the country receives around six million foreign visitors a year, coming principally from Argentina (18%), the United States (14%), Portugal (5%), Italy (5%), Chile (5%), Germany (5%), Uruguay (4.5%), Spain (4%), and Paraguay (4%). All Brazilian schools have been required to offer Spanish as an option for all students since 2005. In order to implement this law, the Brazilian government signed an agreement with the Cervantes Institute at the beginning of this month to train teachers and double the number of Spanish instructors, so as to be able to meet the potential demand from up to 41 million elementary and secondary students. The Brazilian Soccer Federation (CBF) calculates that investments of around 30 billion reais (around 16.125 billion dollars at the current exchange rate) will be needed to prepare the country to host the World Cup. In addition to building stadiums and hotels, this budget includes the investments needed to carry out infrastructure projects, airport remodeling, security programs, and training programs for volunteers.