Brazil expects holidaymaker numbers to rocket in the next few years when it hosts the FIFA World Cup in 2014 and the 2016 Summer Olympic Games.
It has been encouraged by new figures which showed a 4.5% rise in tourists last year - before the sport-related specialist tours kick in.
Embratur, the Brazilian tourism board, announced that 5.7 million international travellers discovered the South American destination in 2012, with a further six million expected this year.
Flávio Dino, Embratur's president, said: "Last year's results highlight the fact that Dilma Rousseff's government is working in the right direction in preparation for major international events."
Many of these tourists travelled to Rio de Janeiro for city breaks, taking in its glorious beaches and the place's most recognisable landmark - Christ the Redeemer, one of the Seven Wonders of the World.
The statue of Jesus Christ at the summit of Mount Corcovado, stands 98ft tall (29.8 metres) and measures - with outstretched arms - 92ft across (28 metres) making it the planet's largest Art Deco-style sculpture.
The piece, made in 1931 of reinforced concrete clad in a mosaic of thousands of triangular soapstone tiles, sits on a square stone pedestal base about 26 feet (7.9 metres) high.
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