Brazil finetunes tourist infrastructure

Rio de Janeiro, June 12 (IANS) As the FIFA Confederations Cup approaches, Brazilian authorities are finetuning the infrastructure to receive an increased influx of tourists over the next three weeks.

The National Civil Aviation (Anac) announced Tuesday that some 220 extra agents will be placed in the airports of the six host cities of the Confederations Cup - Brasilia, Fortaleza, Recife, Salvador, Belo Horizonte and Rio - to attend to the increased number of visitors, reports Xinhua.

State-owned airport infrastructure company Infraero also informed that the number of airport workers will be increased during the Confederations Cup, which starts on Saturday and will last two weeks.

In addition to extra personnel, thousands of volunteers will help in the organization of the event and in the reception of visitors. Some 7,000 people were selected in the government's volunteer program and will be stationed in the six cities.

Besides the human help, the foreign tourists who will travel to Brazil for the Confederations Cup will have an additional tool for getting around the competition's host cities: their cell phones.

Several cell phone and tablet applications launched over the past few days offer tourists a number of useful services.

The Brazilian Central Bank, for example, launched a free app for Android and iOS which helps tourists locate the 12,000 institutions authorized to make currency exchange operations in the host cities.

The Bank's website also offers a guide which features a number of useful info, such as currency exchange regulations, where to exchange money before arriving in Brazil and how to spot fake Real bills.

The host cities invested on applications as well. Rio's government launched a free Android and iOS app, in Portuguese, English and Spanish, which acts like a tour guide, with tips about the city and information on the Confederations Cup.

In addition to the digital guide, some 150,000 printed tour guides will be released to the public.

In Salvador, Bahia state, a similar app features information on tourist spots in the city and nearby towns - Bahia has several tourist regions which can be visited before or after the matches.

The app has GPS support to provide accurate locations of all sites, from bars and restaurants to churches and museums. In Brazil's capital city Brasilia, which will host the Confederations Cup's first match on June 15, a restaurant application for iOS devices features 250 restaurants options, with a printed version as well.

Local mobile operators assured on Tuesday that even though 4G broadband services have yet to be fully implemented in the host cities, the network will be sufficient to attend to the demand for both phone and internet services, so that users can communicate successfully in the stadiums.

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