Brazil Listed as Destination to Avoid for LGBT Tourists

A gay man dances in São Paulo during a parade (Photo: C.H. Gardiner)

A gay man dances in São Paulo during a parade (Photo: C.H. Gardiner)

A famous online tour guide for the LGBT community has singled out Brazil as a destination to be avoided.

GayCities, an online publication that provides advice for LGBT travelers, published its list Tuesday of "5 places to avoid when planning a vacation," and at the very top is Brazil

Rio de Janeiro has been a traditional destination for many in the LGBT community, and the sector has shown significant growth over recent years.

However, the election of President Jair Bolsonaro has brought into the international spotlight a stark contrast between the country's liberal left and the hard-line conservatives and evangelicals that make up much of the Brazil’s interior.

As examples of insecurity in the country the GayCities List highlighted the ongoing economic crisis that Brazil has faced in the wake of massive corruption scandals and the impeachment of President Dilma Rouseff.

 The website also pointed to increased attacks against the LGBT community in Brazil.

"In 2017, 445 people were reported to have died in anti-LGBTQ hate crimes; in 2018, statistics shows 167 trans people were murdered. Also in 2018, Marielle Franco, a Rio de Janeiro city councilor who advocated for LGBTQ rights, was murdered in what witnesses described as a planned assassination, with two ex-police officers arrested as suspects," writes GayCities.

The recent Amazon forest fires and the international focus on President Bolsonaro's very public disagreement with French President Emmanuel Macron have also cast a shadow over Brazil's liberal image.

Supporters of Jair Bolsonaro celebrate following his election last year (Photo C.H. Gardiner)

Supporters of Jair Bolsonaro celebrate following his election last year (Photo C.H. Gardiner)

The two leaders came into conflict after Bolsonaro retweeted a photo montage featuring the French President's wife, Brigitte Macron, in a negative light. The French first lady thanked Brazilian’s for their support Thursday in the wake of the scandal saying "I just wanted to say two words to Brazilians, in Portuguese: Thank you very much! Thank you very much to all who supported me."

This was not the first time that President Bolsonaro has been a subject of public reproach. Critics of the President accused him of homophobia after he stated his opposition to gay tourism in April. "Brazil can't be a country for the gay world, for gay tourism. We have families," the President said.

In may, Bolsonaro removed plans promoting the country to the gay market from the country's official tourism strategy. 

LGBT tourism represents 10% of the global market and 15% of total purchasing power. In Brazil, it has been one of the few tourism areas to grow in recent years.

As of yet, there have been few indicators to show the economic impact that the Bolsonaro government has had on the tourism industry.