The FIFA World Cup 2014 will be held in Brazil between June and July 2014. Drawing in passionate fans from all corners of the world, the event will be the 20th FIFA World Cup tournament held, and the second time Brazil has ever hosted the event. Brazil has won the FIFA World Cup five times, and is the only team to have played in every FIFA World Cup tournament to date.
Twelve of Brazil's cities will host the venues for the FIFA World Cup 2014, including the large cities of Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Salvador and Brasilia. The remaining venue sites will be spread throughout Brazil including Porto Alegre, Belo Horizonte, Curitiba, Natal, Manaus, Fortaleza, Recife and Cuiabá. A lot of the excitement will be centered in Rio de Janeiro where the final will be played at the newly renovated Maracana Stadium. The FIFA World Cup 2014 will attract more than 500,000 international spectators to Brazil, as well as thousands of local spectators and media supporters attending the games. Around 715 million people are expected to watch the games from home.
Major sporting events place a large demand on a country's security resources and other services including transportation, security, medical, emergency, and communication. In the lead up to the big event, Brazil will partake in a large scale build up of security and infrastructure to support the tournament as well as the implementation of a development program to improve the country's current social and economic situation. A pacification plan has been implemented, employing thousands of police staff to drive out criminal gangs in the slums of Brazil. In 2009, FIFA assessed Brazil's proposed sporting venues and made their recommendations to the local organizing committee of Brazil. In accordance to safety guidelines, FIFA issued major refurbishments to several of the proposed sites. In June 2010, the Estadio do Morumbi in São Paulo had to be excluded from the games due to Brazil's inability to finance the upgrade.
Brazil, classified as a developing country, will indeed feel the pressure during the outlay of the FIFA World Cup 2014 events. The twelve host cities will experience a daunting but also an exciting challenge. Major concerns have been raised with regards to how Brazil will cope with such a large influx of spectators and local supporters, congregating and traveling to venue sites. Brazil’s transportation system is very limited, lacking rail networks and inter-city connections; posing a problem for the large number of spectators who will be traveling between the venues spread out across the country. Brazil experiences frequent power shortages, or “brown-outs”, within its major cities, which could cause various technical and security issues around the event. Sanitation standards in Brazil are relatively poor, posing a health threat to thousands of travelers visiting the country. For many years, Brazil has dealt with crime, political instability, and terrorist groups, together increasing the security risks that are already involved with major sporting events.
Despite these challenges, there is confidence that the FIFA World Cup 2014 will be a great success. Brazil will invest more than USD$10 billion in the improvement of roads, transportation, airports, waterways and power generators. In light of the FIFA World Cup 2014, Brazil is initiating a Growth Acceleration Programme which will focus on the development issues in the country. In preparation to the FIFA World Cup, Brazil hopes to not only make improvement for the games, but to benefit the country in the long run.
Some advice is offered below for those attending the FIFA World Cup 2014:
- Getting to the Brazil FIFA World Cup 2014
- Theft and other crime in Brazil
- Medical emergency in Brazil
- Travel Health Insurance for the Brazil FIFA World Cup 2014
Getting to the Brazil FIFA World Cup 2014
The FIFA World Cup will take place in twelve of Brazil's major cities and regions. With the venues spread out through the large country, there will be a lot of long distance travel required by teams and spectators. The demand on inner city travel will also be increased with the influx of international spectators and local supporters attending the various events. Many projects have been put in place within the twelve host cities, sponsored by both government and private organisations, including new avenues, cycle lanes, monorail and light rail systems, and twenty new bus rapid transit (BRT) systems.
The Brazilian Government has invested over USD$595 billion in its Growth Acceleration Programme, which will be implemented over a four year plan to be completed in time for the FIFA World Cup. The programme will upgrade airports, restore roads and expand the public transport services in the city areas where the venues will be held. Around half of the money will be used to improve the airports in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, where a large number of spectators will be arriving and departing during the course of the FIFA World Cup games.
Intercity connections are lacking in Brazil. To meet the demands of a growing economy and the various sporting events planned in future Brazil is currently in the midst of constructing a high speed rail service to serve a number of locations within the country. Although the project is currently underway, recent announcements have confirmed that the rail service will not be completed until 2016. The proposed rail network will conveniently connect Rio de Janeiro to São Paulo, shortening travel time from five hours to just ninety minutes.
There have been minor concerns that the transportation projects may be disrupted by outside factors such as lack of finance or political instability. Despite preparations, it is expected that Brazil's cities will become congested during the FIFA World Cup. As such, spectators attending the event should monitor the media for any disruptions or alternative travel advice.
Pacific Prime offer Travel Health Plans underwritten by IHI-BUPA, a leading international insurance provider. An IHI-BUPA travel health plan will provide coverage for emergency transportation in the event of a medical emergency, such as an accident or illness. If the level of medical care is not available, IHI-BUPA will provide you with air evacuation to a hospital in a nearby city, or overseas to the nearest facility or your home country. IHI-BUPA can also provide compassionate repatriation to your home country, if a close friend or a family member is seriously ill or involved in an accident. In the event of the Brazilian transportation system becoming unduly strained due to the number of fans arriving in the country for the FIFA World Cup, and IHI-BUPA travel health insurance plan will ensure that should an untoward situation occur, you will have the help you need, when you need it.
Theft and other crime in Brazil
Brazil has a relatively high rate of crime in comparison to other countries worldwide. A large scale security build up is underway with efforts to minimize street crime, and risk of political protests and terrorist groups; problems that have existed in Brazil for many years.
In light of the FIFA World Cup preparations, police authorities made public announcements in 2010 to raid forty of the most violent slums, also known as “Favelas”, as part of a pacification plan. The government has employed more than 10,000 additional police officers and municipal peace keeping staff to force out criminal gangs and set up local posts to patrol the slum areas. The town of Mangeuira, which will host the final at the Maracana Stadium, has been an area of high priority. Helicopters and armed vehicles have entered the shanty town, in efforts to drive out criminal gangs and drug trafficking. Residents of the slum have voiced concerns however that the clean up will result in violent outbreaks of fighting between police forces and criminal gangs, threatening the lives of innocent civilians.
Recently, the personal details of 80,000 spectators were leaked through Match, a ticket purchasing company, causing grave concern to FIFA with regards to the ability of Brazilian security forces to adequately control security risks during the tournament. The leak from Match saw the personal details (including names, date of birth, and passport numbers) of the 80,000 ticket holders sold on the black market. The security breach was thought to be used to contact ticket holders and purchase their tickets with the aim to sell them at a highly inflated price.
With a history of political instability, protests in Brazil are not uncommon and can turn violent without warning. There is also an elevated risk of terrorism in Brazil. Colombian terrorists have attacked, kidnapped, hijacked buses, and posed other threats within the country, particularly around the Colombian-Brazil border region.
Those attending the FIFA World Cup should avoid carrying large amounts of cash or valuable items as this can attract theft. Spectators should report any illegal or suspicious activity that may relate to terrorism to a security officer or authority. Additionally, the previously mentioned slums, or Favelas, should also be avoided. These areas are highly dangerous, ruled largely by drug dealers. Although the pacification plan aims to control these slums, travelers should avoid these areas.
Due to the increased security risks associated with Brazil and the FIFA World Cup, spectators are highly recommended to obtain a travel health plan. An IHI-BUPA plan offers a non-medical benefit option, which will provide you with protection against theft and other travel related associated risks. Non-medical benefits offered by the policy will protect theft of baggage; including items that you have brought with you such as electronic equipment, cash, passport, credit cards, and jewelry. A non-medical option will also provide protection against flight delay, trip cancellation, persona liability, security and legal assistance.
Medical emergency in Brazil
If you get sick in Brazil, there are a number of medical options that you can consider, however the best way to ensure you will have access to quality medical care is to obtain travel health insurance. BUPA-IHI offers the highest level of travel health insurance currently available on the international insurance market, and is highly recommended for those visiting Brazil during the FIFA World Cup 2014.
Brazil has a number of hospitals which are able to deliver superior healthcare services, although the level of medical care does differ between cities. If you become seriously ill or injured the medical care that you need may not be available in your current location, forcing you to be evacuated to another city or overseas to the US. If you have an accident or become seriously ill, the costs to cover medical evacuation and medical bills can add up to more than USD$50,000. Travel health insurance will provide you with coverage for these expenses, among other travel related benefits.
If you need a doctor in Brazil, it is advisable that you attend a hospital that is fully accredited by the Joint Commission International (JCI). Hospitals in Brazil that are JCI certified are recognized internationally, and are regarded as providing the best level of health care services in Latin America. There are many hospitals in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo with JCI accreditation. Other recognized accreditation organizations include the International Standardization Organization, the Canadian Council on Health Services, and the Commission on Laboratory Accreditation of the College of American Pathologists. Any doctor you consult in Brazil must also be approved by the Brazilian Medical Association (Associação Médica Brasileira) and the Sociedade Brasileira de Clínica Médica.
The emergency contact number in Brazil is 1-9-2. All calls are answered by a 24 hour emergency operations center and dispatched to the appropriate emergency service. The emergency service is known as SAMU (the Serviço de Atendimento Móvel de Urgência) and is a 24 hour service funded by the government. It is important to note that emergency response can be delayed through lack of staffing and poor transportation networks in Brazil.
Travel Health Insurance for the Brazil FIFA World Cup 2014
Mega sporting events, particularly when held in Brazil where health and other infrastructure may be limited, impose a greater threat to traveler's health, security and safety.
To provide you with piece of mind while you are traveling in Brazil and enjoying the FIFA World Cup games, Pacific Prime highly recommend a fully comprehensive health insurance plan.
Pacific Prime offer Travel Health Plans underwritten by IHI-BUPA, a leading international insurance provider. IHI-BUPA offers a high level of insurance coverage which extends beyond a basic travel health plan. Travelers are provided with comprehensive health coverage and a wide range of benefits while they travel overseas.
Travel Health Insurance Plans offered through Pacific Prime will typically afford a wide range of benefits such as:
Unlimited Maximum cover per person per trip
Compassionate Emergency Repatriation
Compassionate emergency visit
Home transportation of the deceased
Statutory arrangements in case of death
Board, lodging and local transport for a person summoned or accompanying the insured, per day.
Additional non-medical coverage options are available through IHI-BUPA including theft and other travel related options such as trip cancellation; personal accident; baggage theft, loss or damage; baggage delay; flight delay; and personal liability.
For additional information about the IHI-BUPA travel insurance plans which we offer, please see the list of travel insurance benefits.