Rio de Janeiro welcomes “love of all kinds” its state governor has emphasised, contrary to the views of Brazil’s far-right ruling president.
Former lawyer Wilson Witzel, who took up office in January, insisted “there is no homophobia in my administration whatsoever”.
“All kinds of love are welcome,” he said. “We welcome all with open arms.”
Rio de Janeiro state hopes to revitalise its tourist industry, with plans to open five overseas offices next year and spend $5 million on tourism promotion.
Offices will open in London, Lisbon, Orlando, Buenos Aires and possibly Shanghai, with the state also participating in a variety of travel shows.
Witzel said high crime rates had deterred international visitors in recent years, but claimed since taking office his administration’s firm stance had reduced crime “down to the levels of the 1980s”, and that tourism was already showing signs of recovery as a result.
“Over the last 10 months a hopeful resumption has been taking place, but we still need to be investing in promotion and publicity; the tourist destination market is very competitive and Brazil was disappearing,” he said.
Witzel further distanced his ideology from that of Brazil’s far-right president, saying that children in Rio de Janeiro state are being taught the importance of tolerance.
Witzel’s government has adapted the curriculum in schools to ensure children learn about the Holocaust.
“It is important that children learn about the trauma millions of Jews went through, as a result of a policy of intolerance,” he insisted.