• Rio de Janeiro to turn shantytowns into tourist area


    Rio de Janeiro is well known for its tourist attractions like the Cristo Redentor statue, Sugar Loaf mountain and Copacabana beach that make it a great choice for South American travel. Yet when travelers think of things to do in the city, a visit to the shantytown areas isn't usually in the running.

    Rio is home to numerous slums that expand down the side of the city's hills. Known as favelas, these parts of the city can be seen in films like "The Incredible Hulk" and video games like "Call of Duty." But the city has not really thought of them as a tourism strength - until now.

    As part of the city's efforts to improve the standard of living in the area, the government is opting to highlight the favelas in a new tourism initiative, according to the Associated Press. The first community, Santa Marta, was awarded the honor after the community successfully rid the streets of violent gangs. Now, Rio officials are encouraging tourists to visit the neighborhoods and provide an economic boost.

    Some of the areas marked off by new signs include the place where Michael Jackson filmed his music video "They Don't Care About Us," murals painted by local artists, and a high vantage point providing an amazing view of the city.

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