Rio de Janeiro commonly referred to simply as Rio, is the capital city of the State of Rio de Janeiro, the second largest city of Brazil. Rio de Janeiro is the most visited city in the southern hemisphere and is known for its natural settings, carnival celebrations, samba, Bossa Nova, balneario beaches such as Barra da Tijuca, Copacabana, Ipanema, and Leblon.
Rio de Janeiro is Brazil's primary tourist attraction and resort. It receives the most visitors per year of any city in South America with 2.82 million international tourists a year. The city sports world-class hotels, approximately 80 kilometres of beachland, and the famous Corcovado and Sugarloaf mountains. While the city has in past had a thriving tourism sector, the industry entered a decline in the last quarter of the 20th century. Annual international airport arrivals dropped from 621,000 to 378,000 and average hotel occupancy dropped to 50% between 1985 and 1993. Services for tourists were lacking at the time, and visitors frequently found themselves subjected to a hostile environment: Few workers in the commercial sector could speak any language but Portuguese, beach and city pollution was deterring holidayers, and crime against tourists was increasing. The fact that Brasília replaced Rio de Janeiro as the Brazilian capital and São Paulo as the country's commercial center has also been cited as a leading cause of the decline. Rio de Janeiro's government has since undertaken to modernise the city's economy, reduce its chronic social inequalities, and improve its commercial standing as part of an initiative for the regeneration of the tourism industry.