Record numbers celebrate new year in Rio

2nd Jan 2013

A record 2.3 million people celebrated the new year on Rio de Janeiro's famous Copacabana beach.

Organisers said the figure had gone up from two million last year, while around 45,000 tourists also watched the festivities from 13 ships anchored in Copacabana bay.

The event saw crowds of Brazilians making floral offerings to Yemanja, the deity of the seas. Copacabana beach was strewn with flowers which had been washed up on shore after being tossed in the water.

Tourism bosses said the growing popularity of Rio's new year celebrations reflected a wider trend of increased visitor numbers.

An estimated 752,000 tourists visited the city, up more than 5% from the same time last year.

Rio tourism chief Antonio Pedro Figueira de Mello revealed many of the city's most popular attractions had seen significant increases in visitor numbers.

He said the Sugarloaf mountain cable car transported 10,000 tourists on Sunday alone, while visiting hours were extended at the Christ the Redeemer statue.

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