The 2016 Summer Olympics: A Closer Look at the Impact for Mobility
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, will soon be hosting the 2016 Summer Olympics. While the city prepares to meet the demands associated with receiving athletes and spectators from around the world, we have taken a closer look at the potential impact to assignees and companies in Rio de Janeiro during this time.
It is important to note that impacts noted below will affect only the city of Rio de Janeiro; at this stage, we expect other locations in Brazil will be minimally impacted.
- Olympics – August 5th to August 21st, 2016
- Paralympics – September 7th to September 18th, 2016
With an influx of visitors to the city, the demand for temporary accommodations will be abnormally high beginning in the weeks leading up to the Olympics. Our supplier partners have confirmed that there are already a very limited number of units available for bookings beginning mid-July through mid-September.
As a result of this reduced availability, additional preparation time will be required to locate and secure available units during this timeframe. In addition, mobility leaders should be aware of shifts in local market practices regarding temporary accommodations. For example, cost and availability of units will be subject to change up to the time of booking confirmation. Standard cancellation and notice to vacate policies will not be valid and requests for extension will also be subject to availability, which we believe will be limited. A higher rental cost or different conditions than the original rental agreement terms may be requested if an extension is requested. Parking may also be an issue depending on the location of the temporary accommodations.
In order to have the greatest chance for success, mobility leaders will need to allow as much time as possible for supplier partners to try to secure accommodations. We recommend initiating only those assignments considered business critical during the Olympic Games as securing temporary accommodations can be costly and exceed standard budgets.
Brazil has published a new ordinance (Portaria #216) which provides visa-free tourist travel starting in June for nationals of Australia, Canada, Japan and the United States during this summer’s Olympic Games. There will be no changes in the processes for other nationalities.
This change only affects tourist travel and the same work permit and immigration policies in place today for assignees remain the same. There is only one type of visa directly related to the Olympics that will need to be analyzed by the Ministry of Labor, but considering that this visa has a short processing time (5 days), our immigration partners predict that we should not see considerable delays in other processes and that processing times will remain relatively stable. However, due to several local holidays that were declared in Rio for August, there could be some delays in local registrations completed by the Rio de Janeiro Federal Police that month.
Home Finding and Settling In
Mobility leaders should assess upcoming start dates for assignments and, if it all possible, avoid having assignees schedule Home Finding or Settling In trips during timeframe of the Olympics. Rio de Janeiro is currently under construction, and the neighborhood of Barra da Tijuca, where the Olympic Games will take place, and the City Center are expected to be congested with spectators and tourists. Daily commuters are currently experiencing high traffic fluctuations, which we anticipate will worsen as the Olympic Games approach.
In addition, our local Destination Services partners are already reporting the impact of the upcoming Olympics on the real estate market. Apartment costs are, on average, around 280% more expensive for the duration of August. Apartments without services are also being rented very quickly, and some companies are already having difficulty finding long stay furnished options for employees already in Brazil. Landlords who usually only rent for 30 months are now making their properties available for shorter stays during the Olympics.
To offset traffic concerns, the mayor of Rio de Janeiro decreed a partial holiday, not affecting commercial activities, on August 5th, 18th and 22nd
- August 5th – the beginning of the Olympic Games
- August 18th – a triathlon trial
- August 22nd – the day after the Olympics conclude is predicted to see millions of people converging on the international airport to return home
Reports indicate that the extension of the subway’s Linha 1 to Barra da Tijuca will be complete just before the games are set to begin, and the construction on the Ipanema, Leblon and Gavea stations are also expected to be concluded and fully functional by the time the games start. However, it is important to realize that the completion schedule may change. The government is actively monitoring the status but last minute changes could impact travel options and overall traffic flow in the city.
For any international assignment, a full health evaluation/physical examination by a medical professional is strongly recommended before the assignee and accompanying family members travel to Brazil. For mobility leaders sending assignees into Brazil, both during the timeframe of the Olympics and beyond, it is also critical to have the latest information regarding the Zika virus. Mobility leaders should advise assignees and their families traveling to Brazil where the Zika virus is circulating to familiarize themselves with the travel advice provided by the World Health Organization (WHO) and their countries’ health authorities and to consult their health care provider with any concerns before traveling.
The upcoming Olympic Games represent an exciting opportunity for Brazil as they usher in the world’s best athletes and worldwide attention later this summer. For mobility leaders planning or initiating upcoming moves to Rio de Janeiro, it will be important to take the impact of the upcoming Olympic Games into consideration in order to ensure the best chances for a successful relocation.