22/07/2013 11:35 BST | Updated 21/09/2013 06:12 BST

Brazil Seeing Tourism Boost as World Cup Looms Closer

With less than a year to go until the Brazil World Cup kicks off and just three years until Rio de Janeiro hosts the 2016 Olympics, the country is already starting to feel the world's attention.

The ongoing preparations for both sporting events have sparked some debate over whether the country will be ready in time. However, with this year's Confederations Cup showing that Brazil has the necessary infrastructure and stadiums to host a major tournament - albeit on a smaller scale to the World Cup - some fears have been allayed.

Despite this 'dress rehearsal' and repeated reassurances from the Brazilian government and FIFA that there's nothing to worry about, debate over Brazil's readiness has persisted. This, however, doesn't appear to have dampened the UK's enthusiasm. Last year, there was a four per cent increase in British travellers visiting the country on 2011 figures. With interest in Brazilian hotels still growing, further rises could be seen this year. In the first few months of 2013, Hotels.com has seen searches for hotels in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro rise by more than 30 per cent.

This is despite prices in Brazil rising by an average of eight per cent last year, taking an average night's stay up to £151 per night, according to the latest Hotels.com Hotel Price Index. Compared to 2011, prices in São Paulo rose by six per cent, while prices in Rio de Janeiro grew by 13 per cent.

With hotel rates in many of Brazil's traditional tourist destinations being driven up by the country's growing economy, the rising numbers of business travellers from overseas, and its increasing popularity as a holiday hotspot, visitors are starting to look further afield.

All of the cities that are hosting World Cup matches have enjoyed double or triple digit rises in searches at Hotels.com this year. Top of the list is Salvador, where searches have soared by 126 per cent, while Fortaleza and Curitiba have enjoyed strong rises of 108 and 82 per cent respectively.

With many airports across Brazil offering direct international flights, such as Brasília, Belo Horizonte and Porto Alegre, getting to and from the country is becoming easier and more affordable for many travelers, helping to make Brazil even more appealing to visitors from overseas.

To meet growing demand, hotels are being built or upgraded across Brazil. By the end of this year, some 57 new hotels will open, adding 8,927 rooms. Next year, a further 108 hotels are set to open, providing a further 18,837 rooms, according to a recent report by Lodging Econometrics.

While increased supply added by building new hotels should help to keep prices steady, there are fears that delays to some work could mean that hotel rooms will be scarce when the country is besieged by sporting fans next year, which could force prices up. This is a particular concern in Rio de Janiero. Although the city is working towards a target of 50,000 rooms by 2016, this is less than half the number of hotel room that were available in London during the 2012 Olympic Games.

As with previous World Cups, FIFA has booked out a large number of hotel rooms in the 12 cities where matches will take place, and is due to make these available in January when ticket allocations are announced. To get a good result - and great value for money - sporting fans should book early. As soon you've been told that you've got a match ticket, book a hotel room. Unlike in London last year, it's highly unlikely that we'll see hotel rates fall in the final minute.