Might sound like I'm dissin' Chicago and, really, the greater Chicago area and Wisconsin - Tokyo - Madrid (and I'm NOT), but I'm kinda pleased that the Olympic Games will finally be hosted in South America a few years from now... a long wait and ready-making for 2016!
I know... like Brazilians really need a reason to celebrate, and it should be lotsa fun - chances are that I'll try and be there for some of the events, too (won't you?). 7 years is almost too long to get ready, tho. The cost: a few billion $ U.S., and all of the political posturing and anti-posturing to go along with that sum. In the end there will have been many government programs which suffered in order to direct the funds necessary to show well for the world. It always seems to work out, tho, for the betterment of the host region and commerce in general.
Friends who've been to any South American country return and rave about the beauty and hospitality. Push aside the poverty and Brazil is well known for its friendly people, beautiful beaches, fabulously varied terrain and amazing dining experiences. And WOW! the 2014 Copa del Mundo will also be hosted by Brazil??! - these two global focus events should set quite the stage for the whole continent!
Tourism to the entire region should advance considerably in the years leading up to the events, as well. Travel related industries, and businesses proficient in carving niches for catering to tourists in many languages should benefit immeasurably over the next 10 years, at least.
Big cities too! Rio and Buenos Aires have approximately 13 million residents (!), Sao Paolo is 11 million, and pretty little Curitiba is 2 million. So don't anyone think that you're visiting rain forests unless you'll be making a significant side trip (see the falls above)- most of us (foreign tourists =p) will be visiting the whole region over the course of two or three weeks and doing our best to spend lots of savings!
Love it, or not so... the world will know Rio and its neighbors for a generation or more. OMGosh this is so exciting!!