The World Cup project is leaving behind infrastructure, urban mobility and tourism related legacy for Porto Alegre. Therefore, Porto Alegre City Hall decided to sow a seed as a matching action to FIFA endeavours. Football’s governing body was very impressed with Caminho do Gol (Pathway to a Goal) – a 3.5 km long area between the city centre and the Beira-Rio stadium, which provided a series of cultural attractions – and decided to send a TV crew to film the party on the day Argentina played Nigeria. The idea is to assess the action and who knows, perhaps implement it in future editions of the tournament.
This Wednesday afternoon (02.07), Porto Alegre Mayor announced that they intend on keeping the initiative on important match days at the Beira-Rio stadium. The ground belongs to Sport Club Internacional, but there are plans to develop the same initiative for the Gremio Arena, Gremio Sport Club's home stadium.
Porto Alegre experienced a gain in technology, with the increase of free wireless internet access points, as well as the training of personnel to work at mega events. The positive light in which tourists looked upon the city, in addition to social inclusion, accessibility, security and health related actions were also seen as a plus. On the day the last World Cup match was played in the city, the Restinga Extremo-Sul Hospital was put into operation. And the municipality also delivered the newly renovated Emergency Hospital.
Success was also achieved in the Fan Fest, where up until Tuesday (01.07), 316 thousand had gathered around to watch the matches. Furthermore, 100 thousand visitors visited the Farroupilha Revolution exhibition site. According to official data, 150 thousand foreign tourists from 74 countries visited Porto Alegre, in addition to 200 thousand domestic visitors. “But there are always those who go unaccounted for, so we're sure this figure was actually higher. Fortunately, we prepared a wide reaching and efficient structure to cater for and guide them. The World Cup has finished and it was an excellent learning experience", said Fortunati.
A 17 year demand was finally supplied for, the Salgado Filho International Airport. The area suffers a lot from heavy fog, particularly in the months of May and August. As a result of World Cup efforts, the ILS 2 – an aircraft instrument landing system – was installed. The equipment was put into operation a little after the World Cup opening match. Despite interruptions to landing and take-offs still taking place, there was no big problems for tourists and the delegation of the national squads playing in Porto Alegre.
Visibility and business
Although the World Cup has not finished yet, the Rio Grande do Sul State Government is already celebrating the results off the pitch. After playing host to 350 thousand tourists, a new window of opportunity has been opened, giving the state more visibility and able to drive business.
According to governor Tarso Genro, the state’s economy saw an injection of over R$ 1 billion in transactions made by the visitors alone. On average, people spent R$ 3 thousand on accommodation, transport, restaurant and other services. In a 200 km radius from Porto Alegre, hotel occupation rates reached on average 80%. The service sector saw a 50% increase in demand, while this figure reached 40% in the tourism area.
For the governor, the preparation work – started in 2011 – was essential for this success, including cross-cutting projects developed between different secretariats that secure the structure necessary for the event. “Our capability went through security, personnel training and investments. Performance was positive. We had a security set-up that allowed for us to play host to and celebrate football". The security set-up used in the state of Rio Grande do Sul was pointed out as a benchmark in the country by the ministers of justice and sport.
Investment in security
Reaching this result required hard work and investment, like the implementation of the Integrated Command and Control Centre (CICC). The Secretariat of Public Security of the Rio Grande do Sul State invested R$ 94.5 million in equipment and training. In all, R$ 79.7 million invested in equipment came from the Extraordinary Secretariat for the Security of Big Events (SESGE), a federal government body. The amount was used for the procurement of aircraft imaging devices, mobile command centres and non-lethal weapons. In addition, the Regional Integrated Command and Control Centre (CICCR) was also put together, costing R$ 1.5 million. Furthermore, over R4 14.7 million were invested by the State Public Security Secretariat (SSP) from May to July this year in the procurement of mini-buses, trucks, motorbikes, bullet-proof vests, shields and pistols.
According to the state, around 3.5 thousand military and 700 civil police officers were on duty during the World Cup. From these, 2,115 worked in the state's hinterlands. After the end of the World Cup, all the structure will continue to be used, providing interconnection between security bodies 24/7.
Ten mobility related construction works that were initially included in the World Cup Responsibility Matrix ended up being removed due to difficulty found in meeting the deadlines established. However, they will all be concluded, stated Fortunati. In addition to these projects, overpasses were delivered on the Júlio de Castilhos Avenue, in the city centre and Pinheiro Borda. Moreover, Edvaldo Pereira Avenue was turned into a dual carriageway and an exclusive bus lane was built on Padre Cacique Avenue. Roads were also built in areas surrounding the stadium, totalling almost R$ 120 million in investments. “In total, the city signed up for R$ 888 million in financing from the federal government. Such loans are long term and have low interest rates, and were offered to World Cup host cities”, said the Mayor.
State health force
In the health sector, the permanent structure of the state health force is considered an important World Cup legacy. After the tournament, structures, teams and procedures put in practice by the force may be used regularly in the case of future, multiple victim incidents, anywhere in the state.
With a total investment of R$ 30 million, the health force uses an advanced outreach medical centre, able to provide air transport for patients. It brings together 2 thousand qualified professionals and is able to have a 50 staff team on duty, while another 200 are on call, if needed. The group brings together professionals from all regions and will remain in operation to provide such emergency services anywhere in the state of Rio Grande do Sul.
The Advanced Medical Outreach Centre (PMA) is made up of five tents, equipped to provide ICU beds and a structure able to service 250 people an hour. In addition, there is another tent for decontamination and providing services for patients involved in incidents with chemical products, bacteria or nuclear explosives.
One of the most important infrastructure related projects was the Menino Deus substation, for the generation of electrical power. Together with a transmission line it will bring benefits to 150 thousand people.
The show on the pitch
The World Cup in Porto Alegre was very positive in relation to goals, moves, thrilling matches and the parties put on by fans. In the five matches held in Porto Alegre, the ball found its way to the back of the net 22 times, giving the city an average of 4.4 goals per game. With total seating capacity for 43,394 people, the Beira-Rio stadium played host to 214,969 fans, an average attendance of 42.993. In other words, only 401 seats were free at each match. Having an almost packed out house was the result of the high quality football played at the venue. France's Benzema, Robben, Sneijder and Van Persie from Holland, Müller and Schweinsteiger from Germany, as well as Messi and Di Maria from Argentina all took to the pitch. This is before any mention of the surprising Algeria, Nigeria and Australia, who won over the public with their impressive performances.
With so much quality, the city, which two days after the last match is still speaking several languages, was literally invaded by German, Dutch and Argentinian tourists days before their national squads' game. In all, 83 thousand tickets were sold to foreign fans, but more than that visited the city, attending the Caminho do Gol and stopping at bars, where the partying went on for hours with the local community.