Football: Brazil sounds alarm about World Cup's exorbitant hotel prices

BRASILIA, Distrito Federal (Brasil) (AFP) - A Rio hotel will cost on average US$460 (S$580) during next year's World Cup, double the price in Johannesburg and 50 per cent more than in Berlin, which hosted finals at the last two previous tournaments, Brazilian officials said on Wednesday.

In Johannesburg in 2010, the average price of accommodation was US$200 while in Berlin four years earlier it was US$300, according to a report by the state tourism agency Embratur.

The report compared current hotel rates with those for 2014 on the websites of hotels and on MATCH Hospitality, the official accommodation program of football's world governing body Fifa.

During the Confederations Cup in June, a hotel room in the northeastern city of Salvador cost US$75 a night. But in July next year, the price will jump 583 per cent to US$509.

In other World Cup host cities, increases in hotel rates of between 200 and 350 per cent are also reported.

"Embratur believes it is essential to debate this issue ahead of time," Embratur chief Flavio Dino said in a statement sent to AFP.

"These events bring a huge number of new tourists to the country and the image formed from the destination shapes not only the opinion of one individual, but also that of his friends, relatives," he added.

Some 600,000 foreign tourists are expected to flock to Brazil for the World Cup, 30 times more than during the Confederations Cup.

In total, three million people are expected to attend matches in the tournament's 12 host cities over a month's period.

Mr Roberto Rotter, president of the Forum of Brazil's Hotel Operators FOHB said that because MATCH blocked off a significant number of rooms, those that remain are more expensive.

In June, Sports Minister Also Rebelo vowed "zero tolerance" of hotel price gouging during next year's tournament.