Tourism authorities in Brazil have expressed concerns over public safety during the 2016 Olympic Games, hosted in Rio de Janeiro.
The concerns were voiced after recent stabbings in the city, one of which took place at Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas, a city lake where the Olympic rowing and canoeing events will be held. The victim of the stabbing was a 57-year old doctor, who died later in hospital.
At least three other stabbings have been reported in attempted muggings in Rio last month, including a downtown assault on a 39-year-old Vietnamese visitor, a German tourist who was stabbed to death near the city’s cathedral while attending Carnival with his wife, and a Chilean who was stabbed in a park adjacent to an area where Olympic cycling events will take place.
“Unfortunately, violence has returned to be part of our daily routine,” Brazilian Hotel Industry Association (ABIH) president Alfredo Lopes said.
“We have returned to the stage of alerts to visitors and episodes involving consulates with a focus on the lack of security. No economic activity suffers more from crime, from violence on the streets and the perception of insecurity than tourism.”
Mr. Lopes placed the blame for these unfortunate events at the hands of the Brazilian justice system, which has failed to give police sufficient powers to detain offenders. He also warned that Rio’s tourism industry will suffer if street violence remains part of the city’s routine.
In the wake of the latest death, local police have boosted their presence in Lagoa, and have promised extra support for tourist police. But with less than 14 months until the Rio Games begin, Brazilian officials are racing against time to improve safety and security measures in the city.