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Date: 15/03/2011

Rio Mardi Gras 2011 protects tourists with high tech security

Seen as one of the world's most glamorous events, the Rio Mardi Gras attracts both tourists looking to enjoy the opulence of Brazil, as well as those journeying on backpacker travel insurance hoping to enjoy the carnival on a budget.

Dating back to 1723, the Rio de Janeiro Carnival is universally recognised as the biggest carnival in the world with over 2 million revellers on the streets each day. With samba music, stalls, masks and parades, the festival has an appeal for both Brazilians and tourists from all over the world.

However, despite the obvious attractions, the festival has a darker side and with a long history of crime synonymous with the event, tourists must ensure their single trip travel insurance is up to date and covers them for any losses incurred. Previous carnivals in Rio have seen muggings and pickpocketing commonplace, with the 800,000 tourists more frequently targeted than any of the city's six million residents.

With Brazil hosting not only the 2014 World Cup, but also the 2016 Olympics, the pressure is on to clean up its image, to make both events a success and for visitors to feel safe and reduce the number of claims made on their single trip travel insurance.

With this in mind, 2011 has seen the introduction of a 50,000 strong police presence, with organisers anxious to preserve the free and easy carnival atmosphere, while protecting the crowds from opportunist thieves.

Also, for the first time in Brazil, surveillance cameras have been introduced, with over 30 installed around city hot-spots with close monitoring to not only punish criminals, but also to hopefully identify shifty individuals beforehand.

Although both single trip travel insurance and backpacker travel insurance should cover any losses sustained, having to make a claim can put a dampener on any holiday mood so the introduction of hi-tech protection for tourists should prove a popular move.