NEWS
09/02/2014 02:09 EDT | Updated 09/02/2014 02:59 EDT

Rio Rising: Why This Brazilian Metropolis Is About To Become A Major Tourist Spot

Miguel Pereira via Getty Images

Brazil. Music, dancing, beaches, and (of course) Carnival. Who hasn’t heard about Brazil? The country has been in the spotlight for the last few years by hosting both the FIFA 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympics. But Brazil is more than just parties, beaches and supermodels (Hi, Giselle!). It’s also not-so-quietly becoming an economic superpower.

Everyone knows Rio de Janeiro for its Carnival, but Rio is more than that. How much more? We’re glad you asked. Here’s how Brazil is making a statement in every category, including:

Photo gallery Rio Rising: Why This Brazilian Metropolis Is About To Become A Major Tourist Spot See Gallery

Economy

Did you know that Brazil is the seventh largest economy in the world? It’s bigger than Italy’s! This is according to Brookings, who recently released a report on the country’s economic growth. In the report, it says that Brazil’s economy benefits from a boom in commodity exports, a large amount of regional rivals, and a large network in the developing world.

Why does Rio benefit? Because Rio is the country’s financial capital; not Brasilia, the actual capital. (Think Toronto vs. Ottawa.) The money flows through Rio.

Sports

Brazil hosted the 2014 FIFA World Cup and we won’t talk about that game against the German team, but the country can redeem itself in 2016. That’s when Rio hosts the 2016 Olympics in less than two years. We know that the Brazilians like sports and like to throw a good party.

Rio Revitalization

Construction for the Olympics is in progress and the questions are already being asked. Will Rio be ready in time? The World Cup raised many questions about how large-scale projects could help or harm the impoverished communities; will the Olympics be different?

According to the World Cities Culture Forum, Rio is using the Olympics as an opportunity to revitalize public spaces and improve basic necessities such as water, sewer, and drainage networks, as well as providing housing. Part of the process includes the creation of a new museum called the Rio de Janeiro Art Museum.

Culture

Brazil has a very strong arts culture and according to Forbes, a growing market of art and art collectors. Where can you find out more about Brazil’s art scene? In Rio. This year marks the fourth annual ArtRio, and it serves as Rio’s gateway to the international art community. This isn’t simply a local art fair — works are coming from London, New York and Frankfurt, as well as Rio and Sao Paulo.

Style

Brazil is known for its supermodels, but there is far more to the country than that. Rio is giving Sao Paolo some serious competition as the fashion capital of Brazil. The Business of Fashion took a look at the most recent Brazilian Fashion Week and found that the big brands were in attendance, but Brazilian designers were determined to make a mark in their own country in an economy that has seen a decline in sales.

Where Brazil fashion does really well is in swimwear. In a country that is known for beautiful beaches, many designers specialized in swimwear, designing some of the best (and said to be most flattering) swimsuits in the world.

Tourism

We couldn’t talk about Brazil without mentioning tourism. Between the culture, the Carnival, the beaches and the stunning scenery, you can find always find something to do. Brazil.org says that the country is the most visited in South America. Some of the top tourist attractions are the Amazon and, of course, the beaches. Ecotourism is also becoming a big draw to the country thanks to its biodiversity.

Brazil and Rio are going to be in the news a lot for the next two years. If you’re planning to visit, now is the time to book your trip!