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2016 Olympics Plagued By Slow Ticket Sales

RIO, DE JANIERO (CelebrityAccess) — With the Rio de Janiero Olympic Games set to begin in four months, organizers are struggling to fill seats in the face of slow ticket sales.

Concerns about the spread of the Zika virus, ongoing political turmoil in Brazil, and Rio's reputation for crime have all hindered ticket sales and with the opening ceremony set for August 5th, only 50% of the tickets for the Olympic Games have been sold thus far. The Paralympics, which follow on the heels of the Olympics, have sold only 12% of the available tickets, the Washington Post reported.

Brazil's Minister of Sports Ricardo Leyser told Brazilian newspaper Folha that the Brazilian government may purchase tickets and distribute them to schools in an effort to fill seats. As well, he noted that the government needed to take steps to bolster confidence in Brazil's ability to provide a safe and secure experience to would-be attendees.

“There is a perception that the Brazilian population has not yet woken up for the Games,” Leyser told the AFP. “We are going to work energetically on this because it’s still not in people’s heads. We need to sound an alert so that people remember this event and go and buy tickets.”

Such a plan however, may be hard to implement. Brazil is in the midst of a political crisis that has seen country's President Dilma Rousseff facing impeachment in a wide-ranging corruption scandal. As well, the country is mired in a long recession that saw the country's economy shrink by 3.8% in 2015, according to government data published last month. That's the biggest annual drop since 1990 and the country is in its longest recession since the 1930s.

"I have never seen anything like this," Brazilian Allan Alves told CNN last month. "My parents would tell me about hard times, but today it is really tough. Prices are going up every day." – Staff Writers