Belo Horizonte, Brazil, 19th May 2014:  160,000 international tourists and 230,000 Brazilian visitors are expected to visit Belo Horizonte during the World Cup period.  Bunting and decorations are already lining the city’s store fronts and newspaper stands and the City Hall of Belo Horizonte is in the process of finalising its preparations for the 2014 FIFA World Cup™.

The new BRT MOVE, designed to improve journey times for fans and residents across the city, was launched in March 2014 and has already completed significant test-runs ahead of the major sporting event. The current BRT MOVE transports 35,000 passengers on a daily basis and the complete system will eventually serve 700,000 users per day across the city and its surrounding areas.

To enable fans to move swiftly around the city, the City Hall has arranged for ticket holders to have access to a series of special bus lines that will be in operation on match days. They will allow fans to travel to the stadium for a fixed fair from several strategically located points in the city upon the presentation of a game ticket.

The city’s Mineirão stadium has undergone the most testing for a 2014 FIFA World Cup™ stadium having received more than 1.3 million people since its completion on 21st December 2012 and it was one of the first stadiums to be ready for the 2014 FIFA World Cup™. Delivered on-time and on-budget, the stadium has hosted 40 football matches since its launch with the highest average attendance in the past ten years.

By the start 2014 FIFA World Cup™, 22,000 people will have been trained in English and Spanish in a wide range of professions including tourist guides, health professionals, tourist information agents and hospitality staff. The State’s civil officers have also received special training including sessions with FBI agents from the United States. In total, more than 2,500 police officers will receive dedicated support that will assist them working within a major event scenario.

Minas Gerais was also the first state to launch the Integrated Command and Control Centre (CICC) in March 2013, which is formed of 30 safety-focused organisations, and was already approved and used for the FIFA Confederations Cup 2013. Apart from Belo Horizonte, only Rio de Janeiro has a similar organisation. Approximately 2,000 cameras have also been installed around the city which will serve as a permanent security legacy for the residents of Belo Horizonte.

The State Government, together with the State Department of Social Defence, has also conducted intensive training sessions and simulated scenarios with organisations such as Mobile Emergency Medical Service (SAMU) and firefighters, in order to be able to deal with crisis, disaster and conflict situations in mass audience events.

Looking beyond the 2014 FIFA World Cup™, the City Hall of Belo Horizonte is aiming to strengthen the city’s reputation as a destination for business and foreign investors and recently launched the 2014 edition of ‘Goal Belo!’, a dedicated city investor programme. The 2014 edition follows the successful 2013 pilot-programme completed during the FIFA Confederations Cup 2013 which generated investments of approximately $15,000,000 after the first round of trade negotiations followed by approximately $25,000,000 throughout the course of the year.

Commenting on preparations, the Mayor of Belo Horizonte, Marcio Lacerda, said: “We are now in the final countdown period and Belo Horizonte’s moment on the international stage is about to take place. We are hard at work fine-tuning our preparations to ensure a wonderful World Cup experience for all of the football fans that will come to Belo Horizonte. The well-being of our visitors is of paramount importance to us. We are looking forward to welcoming visitors from Brazil and all over the world to Belo Horizonte and celebrating a memorable 2014 FIFA World Cup together with them.”

Camillo Fraga, Municipal Secretary for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™Host City, Belo Horizonte, said: “We know that intensive preparation and training is essential in order to host an event of this scale and therefore we have dedicated a substantial amount of time and resources in this area. We are very excited about our forthcoming moment in the world’s spotlight and the opportunities that it will bring to our city. The people of Belo Horizonte are known for their hospitable welcome and we believe that football fans will have an unforgettable World Cup experience here with us in Belo Horizonte.”