London, United Kingdom, March 20, 2014: Delegates from the city of Belo Horizonte, which will host six matches at the 2014 FIFA World Cup™ including a semi-final, visited London today as part of Goal to Brasil, a dedicated travel exhibition and press conference for the cities that will host England games during the 2014 FIFA World Cup™.
Belo Horizonte will host England’s final game in Group D against Costa Rica on Tuesday 24th June 2014.
Speaking at the event, Camillo Fraga, Municipal Secretary for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ – Host City, Belo Horizonte, said: “We are looking forward to welcoming England fans to Belo Horizonte and we are in the process of fine-tuning our preparations to ensure that our international visitors enjoy a fantastic World Cup experience with us.
“This moment in the world’s spotlight allows us to show fans, across the globe, our beautiful city and region, which we call Brazil’s hidden gem, and it also gives us the opportunity to build a better city for the people of Belo Horizonte.
“We are creating new public transport systems, renewing and updating our hotel chains, expanding our telecommunications networks, modernizing our transit control systems and surveillance as well as improving our public health system. It is a pivotal moment in our city’s history and the benefits will be a long-lasting reminder of this memorable event.”
The exhibition demonstrated how Belo Horizonte is utilizing the opportunity of the 2014 FIFA World Cup™ to modernize the city and become a base for major sporting events and international conferences as well providing a long-lasting legacy for the population of Belo Horizonte.
More than 700,000 people will benefit from the new BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) system in Belo Horizonte which will operate in a similar fashion to a subway system with separate embark, disembark and transfer stations throughout the city. With its exclusive lanes, the BRT will be fully operating in May 2014 and will allow fans, tourists and residents to move easily and swiftly throughout the city. R$1.4 billion is being invested into the new public transportation.
The City Hall is also deploying new tourist and traffic signs, particularly around the Mineirão Stadium, to ensure that visitors receive the optimum tourist experience. Furthermore, there are many private and public programmes in place to help workers learn English ahead of the tournament, such as an English course run by the City Hall for its traffic officers, security guards and public events security teams. Since 2011, the course has been completed by around 200 people per year.
The exhibition also highlighted Belo Horizonte as a tourist destination and a ‘hidden gem’ with its history of jewel mining within the area and many beautiful, off-the-beaten track places to explore in the city and region; such as Ouro Preto, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Tiradentes and Congonhas and other destinations known for eco-tourism such as the Serra do Cipó.
The Inhotim Institute, located 60km from the city, is the world’s largest open-air contemporary art museum and Belo Horizonte is also the birthplace for the works of celebrated Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer; including the São Francisco de Assis Church, the Casa do Baile and the Museu de Arte, which is located in the architectural area of Pampulha, a candidate for UNESCO World Heritage status and home to the Mineirão stadium. Named “World Bar Capital” by The New York Times, Belo Horizonte also offers a great gastro experience with the most varied cuisine in the country and hosts the largest food festival in Brazil. —- By: Rob Fawdon