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One of the world’s truly rarefied tourism experiences

December 14, 2017 Headline News No Comments Email Email

A visit to the giant statue of Christ the Redeemer atop Corcovado mountain in the Tijuca Forest National Park is a must for visitors to Rio de Janeiro – but going to the top of the statue, a feat just accomplished by Mobile Travel Agents chief executive Don Beattie – that’s something else.

In Brazil to attend the annual Belmond Travel Agency Advisory Board meeting, Beattie was granted a rare opportunity to be allowed to scale the 30-metre-high statue via an internal staircase for a chance to view ‘Cidade Maravilhosa’ (the Marvellous City) of Rio 710 metres below.

London-based Belmond is a global collection of exceptional hotel and luxury travel adventures in inspiring and enriching global destinations. In 2014, MTA became the first Australian travel agency group to be invited to have a representative join the Belmond Travel Agent Advisory Board.

Mobile Travel Agents chief executive Don Beattie on top of Rio’s Christ the Redeemer statue


The ascent of the Christ the Redeemer statue is a travel experience that is accurately described as rarefied, a word that has two meanings: 1. extremely high or elevated; lofty; exalted. Or 2. of, belonging to, or appealing to an exclusive group; select; esoteric.

That about sums it up! Very few people get to climb the statue. Groups of daredevils occasionally do it, as in the four-minute video below:

For the rest of us, the statue climb has a similar appeal to the Sydney Harbour Bridge climb before it became legal. Thrilling – but it’s definitely better, and safer, to do it with approval, if you’re lucky enough to get the offer.

Christ the Redeemer dominates Rio de Janeiro skyline at sunset

For the record, the giant statue, made of reinforced concrete and soapstone, is a cultural icon of both Rio de Janeiro and Brazil, as well as a worldwide symbol of Christianity. It’s listed as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.

Written by Peter Needham

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