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Brasilia, April 25: After a two-year suspension due to Covid-19, Brazil’s carnival returned this weekend, giving a boost to the country’s tourism sector.

As millions of spectators enjoyed the traditional celebration at an unusual time of the year, the famous “blocos”, or musical troupes, returned to parade in the streets in cities such as Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, while samba schools again lit up the Sambadrome, a special venue built for the carnival in Rio de Janeiro, reports Xinhua news agency.

Originally scheduled for the end of February, the carnival was cancelled for the third straight year after an increase in Covid-19 cases due to the Omicron variant.

However, pressure from the tourism sector over fears of another year without its main season of income and employment, led to a rescheduling for the end of April.

Although lacking in thousands of foreign tourists, the carnival was boosted by domestic revellers that pushed hotel occupancy and revived the service sector.

In Rio de Janeiro, the hotel occupancy was between 85 and 90 per cent this weekend, according to the Brazilian Hotel Industry Association.

Other state capitals have also seen high rates, such as 70 per cent in Recife, 65 per cent in Florianopolis, 60 per cent in Natal and 60 per cent in Aracaju.

Source: IANS