Brazil’s national tourism board has been left red faced after it accidentally posted a tourist’s review of how they were robbed and left frightened to leave their flat while staying in Rio de Janeiro.
Embratur’s account mistakenly shared an Instagram post from a holidaymaker which started off praising the crime-hit city for its beauty.
But the tourist’s following remarks detailed how their family had been robbed and her nine-year-old sister had witnessed a violent robbery.
‘I can’t recommend a visit to a city where I felt afraid of even leaving the apartment,’ the post concluded.
Brazil struggles to overcome its violent reputation when attracting tourists, and such a post would have been an embarrassing error from Embratur, a state-owned agency reporting to the country’s Ministry of Tourism
‘Rio is such a beautiful city, but beautiful is not enough,’ Instagram user ‘withlai’ wrote in an Instagram Stories post.
‘I just spent 3 days in Rio with my family, and in those 3 days my family and I were robbed and my 9-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.’
Embratur deleted the shared post on Wednesday. It said in a subsequent statement that ‘sharing (the post) was a mistake,’ adding that it had worked hard to promote a nationwide fall in crime in 2019.
While at its lowest point since records began in 1991, the violent crime rate in Brazil is still very high.
The state of Rio de Janeiro alone registered almost 4,000 murders and 120,500 muggings in 2019. In 2018, Brazil had a homicide rate of 24.7 per 100,000 people, one of the highest in the world.
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s crackdown on criminals in Rio de Janeiro has also led to a sharp 16% increase in killings by police in the city.
Despite being home to the beautiful Amazon rainforest, famous festivals and picturesque beaches, the country still struggles to attract tourists.
Safety concerns along with inconvenient flights, poor infrastructure and high costs have long held back Brazil’s tourism industry, which lags behind its South American neighbors.
A meagre 5.7% of the country’s annual tourism income comes from foreign visitors, according to 2019 statistics from the World Travel and Tourism Council.
As news of the mistake went viral, withlai, who identified herself as a Brazilian living in Germany, said in another Instagram post that she hoped ‘the person (at Embratur) doesn’t get in trouble, we all make mistakes.’
She also defended her original post, saying: ‘If I don’t feel safe or comfortable somewhere, I’ll share it.’