Destinations

“I felt afraid of leaving the apartment”: Brazil tourism board accidentally spruiks violent crime

Destination marketing professionals are no doubt reeling upon hearing about the Brazilian tourism board’s recent mega-gaffe.

Embratur, Brazil’s tourism authority, accidentally shared a negative review on social media last Tuesday. But it wasn’t just any negative review.

The review, which was written by Instagram user @withlai, details a terrifying three days spent in Rio de Janeiro where not only was her family robbed, but her younger sister witnessed a violent robbery.

“Rio is such a beautiful city, but beautiful is not enough,” the review begins.

“I just spent three days in Rio with my family, and in those three days: my family and I were robbed and my nine-year-old sister witnessed a violent robbery.

“I can’t recommend a visit to a city where I felt afraid of even leaving the apartment.”

@withlai goes on to say she hopes things will get better for the city in the future for both locals and tourists.

Embratur posted this review on its Instagram story, which Brazilian news outlet G1 managed to capture before it was deleted.

The tourism board told G1 the post was a “mistake” and suggested the account may have been hacked.

@withlai, who G1 reported was named Laiza, told the outlet she is a Brazilian from Curitiba but has lived in Germany for six years.

She said she was visiting Rio with her mother, sister and German fiance to show him “the beauty of my country”.

“Unfortunately it didn’t go as planned,” she told G1.

“I saw that Embratur reposted my story and I found it strange, I imagined that the person who reposted it didn’t read it correctly or didn’t understand English very well and thought my message was more positive.”

Embratur said in a statement that it is working to publicise the drop-in violent crime in 2019.

Despite recording 4,000 murders and 120,500 muggings last year, Rio’s homicide rate is the lowest it has been since records began in 1991, the BBC reported.

Smart Traveller’s safety rating for Brazil currently sits at “exercise a high degree of caution” and says violent crimes such as mugging, armed robbery and carjacking are common, particularly in large cities during festivals such as Carnivale.

Travel Weekly has approached Embratur for comment.

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