Rio Hotels Cut Rates Amid Run on Rooms for UN Environment Summit

Hotels in Rio de Janeiro have agreed to cut prices by as much as 60 percent during a United Nations environmental summit next month after some delegations reduced their participation due to the high cost of lodging.

More than 100 heads of state and 50,000 environmental activists and diplomats are expected to attend the Rio+20 Summit taking place June 13-22 to commemorate the UN’s landmark climate conference in the beachside city two decades ago.

Brazil’s government, in a statement, said that it intervened in negotiations with hotel operators after it learned that some establishments were taking advantage of strong demand to charge excessive prices.

Under new rules, the travel agency responsible for organizing the event will renounce its commission and hotels will lower rates and waive minimum-stay requirements, producing savings of as much as 60 percent. Delegations that have already paid will have excess charges returned, the government said.

Rio, the host of the 2016 Summer Olympics, is scrambling to handle a huge influx of visitors expected to attend next month’s summit, with the city government planning to establish a campground in an urban park and encouraging residents to take in lodgers.

Mayor Eduardo Paes is also considering declaring a public holiday to ease traffic that will worsen with police-escorted caravans shuttling Russia’s Vladimir Putin, France’s Francois Hollande and other world leaders expected to be in attendance.

Paes complained about “exorbitant” prices charged by some hotels after O Globo newspaper reported this month that four and five-star accommodations in Rio cost an average 1,400 reais ($700) a night during the conference, more than comparable lodging in New York and other major cities.

European governments are reducing the number of delegates they plan to send to the summit because of the higher hotel prices, the BBC reported in April, citing an interview with a European Union official in Brazil

To contact the reporters on this story: Joshua Goodman at jgoodman19@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Joshua Goodman at jgoodman19@bloomberg.net

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