January 4, 2017 / 10:37 PM / 9 months ago

Brazil sees record number of tourists in 2016, boosted by Olympics

Tourists visit the Christ the Redeemer statue before the start of the Rio 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, July 24, 2016. Picture taken July 24, 2016. REUTERS/Paul Robinson

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Brazil saw a record number of international tourists in 2016, boosted by the first Olympic Games held in South America, official data showed on Wednesday.

A total 6.6 million international travellers visited Brazil last year, the tourism ministry said, 4.8 percent higher than the year before.

They injected $6.2 billion into the Brazilian economy, compared to $5.84 billion in 2015.

Brazil is the most popular destination in Latin America but lags far behind the world’s top 10 popular destinations, according to United Nations figures for 2015. France was the world’s most popular tourist destination in the world with 84.5 million visitors in 2015, the United Nations said.

“We still have a lot to do to benefit in an efficient manner from the image legacy of the Olympic Games,” Brazil’s Tourism Minister Marx Beltrão said in a statement.

Of those who visited Brazil last year, 95 percent intended to return, according to a tourism ministry survey.

Reporting by Bruno Federowski; Editing by James Dalgleish

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