Tourism has become an increasingly key sector of the Brazilian economy over the past decade, although in 2012 the country only occupied the 38th place on the global scale in terms of international tourist receipts (i.e. tourist international expenditure in the country), and tourism only accounted for 0.3 per cent of the country’s GDP (WTO 2014). The state of Minas Gerais occupies the ninth position among the 14 Brazilian states with international airports in terms of international tourist arrivals in Brazil, despite official efforts to boost this activity (Ministério de Turismo 2014). In Belo Horizonte (BH), the capital of Minas Gerais, the process of urban transformation for the creation of an international tourism destination began in the late 1980s and has become the main goal of the metropolitan administration, supported by state and national policies. The attraction of mega-events has been a key element of that strategy, but until 2012 the city only managed to attract ‘second-class’ events. With the FIFA1 Confederations Cup 2013 and World Cup 2014, and the Olympic Games Rio 2016 (which will use training centres in many Brazilian cities), the BH city government found a new impetus for its strategic initiatives, and a number of large-scale construction projects have been built allegedly to host activities as part of those mega-events. FIFA events require host cities to fulfil a long list of demands and recommendations, which comprise technical issues related to the hosting stadia and their surroundings, as well as other infrastructural and budgetary issues. In all 12 World Cup host cities, urban governments have used the construction works allegedly justified by mega-events to evict thousands of citizens and boost the real-estate market.2 Due to their social, economic, cultural and urban impacts, such large-scale projects have thus triggered the resistance of Brazilian social movements involved with urban issues, which have organised themselves, in BH, into the Popular Committee of the people affected by the FIFA World Cup (COPAC-BH, Comitê Popular dos Atingidos pela Copa – Belo Horizonte). This committee joined the National Coordination of the World Cup Popular Committees (ANCOP, Articulação Nacional dos Comitês Populares da Copa) and was one of the major players in the organization of the large-scale demonstrations of 2013 in the city (referred to later on in this chapter). Urban social movements have

received the help of a number of academics, who have been studying the impacts of large-scale projects and tourism-led urban development on the socio-economic, environmental and cultural urban realms.3