Rio named as UNESCO World Heritage Site
Rio de Janeiro in Brazil is the latest city to be given World Heritage Site status by UNESCO.
The accolade marks Rio out as the first city to be awarded the status in the Urban Cultural Landscape category and could not have come at a better time.
Brazil is cementing itself as an emerging economy and its attraction as a tourist destination looks set to soar over the coming years with the FIFA World Cup of football being hosted in 2014 and 2016 Olympic Games also being held in Rio.
The news has been welcomed by Embratur - the Brazilian tourist board - with chairman Flavio Dino highlighting a number of the city's projects.
"It is undeniable that this is a great time for Rio de Janeiro and Brazilian tourism as a whole," he commented.
"The city is one of the venues of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, it will be hosting the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games and has just organised the Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development."
The status was afforded to Rio on Sunday (July 8th) and further enhances its reputation as Cidade Maravilhosa, which translates as Marvellous City.
Rio is instantly recognisable for its statue of Christ the Redeemer, the largest Art Deco statue in the world as well as its its granite peaks and golden beaches.
"This decision by UNESCO recognises Rio de Janeiro as a destination of unique beauty and we now expect even more visitors to be charmed by the city," Mr Dino added.
However, travellers planning a trip to Brazil when travelling around South America in the near future should not limit their stay to Rio as the country boasts a further 18 UNESCO sites.
Among the must-see places in Brazil are the Architectural and Urban Ensemble of Ouro Preto, Minas Gerais, which gained UNESCO status in 1980, the Historic Centre of Olinda, Pernambuco and the Ruins of Sao Miguel das Missões in Rio Grande do Sul.