Not many flew down to Rio: Tourism and the history of beach-going in twentieth-century Rio de Janeiro

B. J. Barickman

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Few other major cities in the world are more closely associated with beaches and beach-going than Rio de Janeiro. Most notably, the beaches in Copacabana and Ipanema have long enjoyed worldwide fame. Yet, contrary to what might be expected and despite efforts to promote the city as a tourist destination, tourism did not play a major role in shaping the history of beach-going in twentieth-century Rio. On the one hand, the Brazilian city was simply too far from Europe and North America and a trip there too costly to attract significant numbers of European and North American tourists, who, if they were in search of a seaside holiday, had options much closer to home. Even in the 1990s, the number of foreigners who visited the city remained modest by international standards. On the other hand, a low average standard of living and a highly unequal distribution of income, among other factors, worked against the transformation of Rio's beaches into a destination for large-scale internal tourism. In the end, locals, far more so than tourists, made Rio into a city internationally known for its beaches. Rio, thus, differs from most other cities that have become famous for their beaches.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)223-241
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Tourism History
StatePublished - Sep 2 2014


  • Bathing
  • Cities
  • Copacabana
  • Ipanema
  • Rio de Janeiro
  • Seaside resorts

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • History
  • Transportation
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management


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