Andrew J. Wein - Oct 2, 2017

Rio de Janeiro is currently facing a major fiscal and economic crisis, having to endure issues with public safety. The federal government announced a set of measures to boost Rio tourism so that the city becomes once again Brazil’s most important destination.

The Ministry of Tourism (MTur) and Embratur will invest R$ 25 million in the city promotion. The advertising campaigns will start to be seen in November – targeting the press, radio, TV and digital channels – in order to promote Rio within the country itself and abroad. The starting point is a research that mishmashes the way the tourists see the city and the importance of public safety for Rio tourism.

The research shows that 95% of tourists who stayed in the city in August have the intent to come back and 92% say that they would recommend Rio. It is a vector for economic development – says the Minister of Tourism, Marx Beltrão.

Last year, Rio welcomed 6.8 million tourists, 1.5 million of those coming from abroad. Together, they generated a revenue of R$ 11.2 billion for the local economy. The campaign of Embratur will also abide by the information of the research, adapting itself to the markets in which it will circulate, like South American nations, Argentina, USA, and Europe. It will be an early action of the program “Mais Rio, Mais Brasil” [More Rio, More Brazil], which will put Rio as the top priority of the country’s international promotion efforts between 2018 and 2022. The forecast of the federal government is that the city will be able to amass R$ 45 billion per year through tourism, against the current R$ 11.2 billion.

Beltrão acknowledges that violence is deeply important when the tourist considers the options. It is the main disadvantage of Rio tourism, according to a group of 1000 people from four cities – São Paulo, Belo Horizonte, Brasília, and Porto Alegre – consulted between the 15th and 20th of last month. The research, conducted by FSBPesquisa at the request of MTur, also shows that more than 70% of the interviewees believe that an enhanced public safety would be enough to attract more tourists to Rio.

Safety has always been the Achilles heel of Rio. That is the reason why the army is here, in an effort to contain the problem. But of course one needs to move beyond contention itself, creating policies to ponder the issue – the Minister said, citing tourists who assess that the presence of the army in the streets increases safety and can improve the overall conditions.

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