—- Today [March 4] Brazil invites the world to join the 100-day countdown to the FIFA 2014 World Cup, set to start in Sao Paulo on June 12, 2014.

The host cities will mark the occasion by lighting its main tourist attractions in the iconic Brazilian green and yellow colors.

Besides São Paulo, the games will take place in the following other 11 host cities throughout Brazil: Belo Horizonte, Brasilia, Cuiabá, Curitiba, Fortaleza, Natal, Recife, Porto Alegre, Manaus, Salvador and Rio de Janeiro, where the final game will be held.

In Fortaleza, eight attractions will be part of the celebration: The facades of the Castellan Arena, the Palace of Abolition and Events Center of the State of Ceará, Fortaleza Metropolitan Cathedral, the Statue of Iracema, Portugal Square, Bishop’s Palace and Fortress mill will be illuminated.

In Belo Horizonte, there will be four major spots: The Administrative City, Mineirão, Casa do Baile and Abilio Barreto Museum.

Brazil’s Capital, Brasilia, will shine green and yellow on Buriti Palace (seat of local government), on the Ministries of Sport and the Environment, as well as JK Bridge, one of the most famous attractions in the federal district.

Below is a complete list of the host cities and its tourist attractions celebrating the 100-day countdown:

Belo Horizonte –Administrative City, Mineirão, Casa do Baile, Abílio Barreto Museum

Brasília – Buriti Palace, Ministry of Sport, Ministry of the Environment and the JK Bridge

Cuiabá – Nossa Senhora do Rosário Church

Curitiba – Botanical Garden and Japan Square

Fortaleza – Castelão Arena, Abolição Palace, Ceará State Events Centre, Fortaleza Metropolitan Cathedral, Iracema Statute, Portugal Square, Bispo e Moinho Fortaleza Palace

Manaus – Paço da liberdade, Municipal Market and Ponta Negra tourist complex

Natal – Portico of the Magi

Porto Alegre – Usina do Gasômetro Cultural Centre

Rio de Janeiro – Maracanã  Stadium

Salvador – Fonte Nova Arena and Lacerda Elevator

São Paulo – Municipal Theatre, Flag Monument, City Hall, Chá Overpass and Globes at Sé Square

Brazil is ecstatic to welcome travelers from around the world, to experience the Brazilian culture, hospitality and passion for futebol (soccer). The biggest single-event sporting competition in the world will draw 600,000 foreign tourists to Brazil during the 30-day event.

The last World Cup held in Brazil was in 1950, and a total of 1,043,500 people attended those games. Now in 2014, the number of expected attendees has more than tripled,with an estimated number 3,300,000 people projected to attend. FIFA registered nearly 10 million tickets requests in the two sales phases.

A lot has changed since the last time Brazil hosted the World Cup. Brazil has seen an immense financial growth and development, while the tournament has also seen major advances on and off the field. Compared to the 1950 World Cup, the number of competing teams expanded from 13 to 32, and the number of games also increased from 22 to 64 games. This will also be the first World Cup where goal-line technology will be used.

We invite all fans of Team USA to learn about Natal, Manaus and Recife, the cities where the US will play the first round of games during the World Cup. These cities showcase some of the major investments in the infrastructure to provide a positive and enjoyable experience for travelers. Each city has great diversity, ecotourism and unique experiences that will give travelers plenty to do while not watching the matches.

“We are ready to host teams from around the world and their fans; and we want them to experience everything Brazil has to offer. It will be a great opportunity for travelers to discover Brazil and to experience what soccer really means for Brazilians. This is not just a sport for us, it is our way of life. We look forward to welcoming fans that share the same passion for this sport as we do. Come celebrate the beautiful game with us!“, says the President of Embratur, Flavio Dino.

About Brazil Tourism:

With its spectacular beaches, lush rain forests, rich culture, exotic cuisine and exciting nightlife, Brazil is one of the most compelling countries to visit today. Travelers are invited to explore Brazil’s incredible geographical diversity – from the wetlands to the beaches. With a beautiful, tropical climate, Brazil is an easily accessible, exotic get-away for couples, families and business travelers. Brazil will host two of the world’s most important sporting events of the decade – the World Cup 2014 and the Olympic Games 2016 – making it the perfect time to plan a first (or return) visit.

For more information, go to visitbrasil.com.