Brazil eyes hovercrafts to ferry tourists to Rio during soccer World Cup

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 16 April, 2014, 11:37pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 16 April, 2014, 11:37pm

Rio de Janeiro is eyeing a new way to bring World Cup tourists to the city from the airport: hovercraft.

Rio state's tourism secretary, Claudio Magnavita, met with the transport secretary, Tatiana Vaz Carius, on Sunday and discussed the idea, Magnavita said. The state would like at least two such craft that fit about 80 people each and could make about four trips an hour, he said.

Most visitors to Brazil's largest tourism destination will land at the Galeao airport on Governor's Island in Guanabara bay. To get to the city centre, travellers currently face the prospect of an hour-long drive down an often-clogged highway, with the Southern Zone's beaches like Ipanema even farther off. The city government last month decreed three holidays to reduce traffic flow on match days.

Whisking travellers across Guanabara bay instead would be a quicker option.

"There's a silting problem in Guanabara bay where the island is, so it would have to be a boat with an air cushion," Magnavita said. "If there's a capable operator that is able to attend to safety, we will be operating for 30 days in that stretch."