Tres Coracoes will pull out all the stops to celebrate its most famous son, Pele, with a museum, a replica of his first home and new bars and hotels planned in time for the tourist bonanza of the 2014 World Cup...
Tres Coracoes, in the state of Minas Gerais, has long been known as the first home of Edson Arantes do Nascimento, better known as Pele, who turns 70 this week. A city of roughly 70,000 inhabitants situated 300 km from Sao Paulo, so far the only indication to its most famous resident is a statue of the star in a downtown plaza and a street which bears his full name.
With the World Cup four years away however, town officials plan to use a R$664,000 ($400,000) grant from the Ministry of Tourism to improve their tourist infrastructure, and guide more football fanatics to the birthplace of arguably the greatest footballer ever to play the game.
"The people that pass through here are interested in the story of the city, but we still do not have the structure to receive the people that come in the name of Pele. We are starting to change this. We already have well-established projects and by the next year I believe that we will have Pele's [childhood] home and the museum ready," Tres Coracoes Tourism and Culture Secretary Valerio Neder affirmed to Globoesporte.
Aside from the Pele-based attractions, Neder added that the town would see great investment in terms of other amenities to capitalise on the influx of visitors in 2014. It is estimated that up to 600,000 foreigners could descend on Brazil over the duration of the games.
"Our challenge is to improve our hotel network and train the people that are going to receive the tourists, such as hotel and bar workers and taxi drivers. We have already mobilised ourselves and we have faith: Tres Coracoes will be ready for the World Cup. We have to take advantage of being in the land of Pele," the official restated.