By David Gold

Gasto Vieira2October 5 - The Brazilian Government has announced new criteria for ranking hotels and accommodation for the Olympic and Paralympic Games that Rio de Janeiro hosts in 2016 and the FIFA World Cup taking place in the country in 2014.

The move, announced by the Ministry of Tourism, has been introduced to increase competitiveness in Brazil's hospitality industry.

"With major events such as the FIFA World Cup and the Olympics just around the corner, we need to upgrade our facilities and services," said Brazilian Minister of Tourism Gastão Vieira (pictured top, centre).

"In this context, quality standards are an important tool to put our hotel industry on equal footing with that of countries that are global tourism leaders."

The one to five star system will now be issued exclusively by the Brazilian Government to those hotels assessed according to the Brazilian System for the Qualification of Accommodation.

The system was first implemented last year in Brazil and follows international models from France, Spain, Portugal, Germany and other major tourist destinations.

A ceremony in Brasília last week saw hotels from ten Brazilian states become the first to have their categories ranked in this way.

A shortage of hotels has been a key concern for organisers of the 2014 World Cup and Rio 2016, but this latest move should help to assuage any fears.

Last month Sports Minister Aldo Rebelo said that Brazil was more worried about supply being too great for the demand, and so this ranking system may also help to restore the "imbalance in the market" he said this might cause.

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