BRASILIA, Brazil (AP) — Brazil's sports minister has pledged "zero tolerance" for hotels that charge abusive prices during the Confederations Cup and next year's World Cup soccer tournaments.

Aldo Rebelo says that massive price hikes during the showcase events hurt Brazil's image abroad and threaten to scare tourists away.

Speaking in a radio address on Thursday, Rebelo warned that hotels found to be raising their prices excessively will feel the "heavy hand" of the law, adding that consequences include possible hotel closures.

Hotels in Rio de Janeiro raised their prices so much ahead of a United Nations' conference there last year that many delegations were forced to slash participant rosters. The government later forced the hotels to reimburse some of the excess charges.

The two-week long Confederations Cup begins on Saturday.

 

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