Embratur President Says Casinos Will Help Brazil Triple Number of Foreign Tourists

Gilson Machado defends casino legalization and deplores the fact that the country has fewer visitors than the Eiffel Tower elevator

São Paulo

"Brazil receives fewer tourists a year than the Eiffel Tower elevator [in France]."

The sad revelation came from the president of Embratur (Brazilian Tourism Institute), veterinarian Gilson Machado Neto, 51.

According to him, 6 million foreigners come to the country annually, and the most famous tower lift in Paris receives 7 million visitors.

Gilson Machado Neto. Foto: Isac Nóbrega /PR

For Machado Neto, however, there are still many reasons to celebrate. He believes, for example, that Brazil should legalize casinos.

He stated that he is working with the Ministry of Tourism and parliamentarians to develop a way for Brazil to adopt the tourism cluster model.

"Clusters are hotels and resorts integrated with convention centers, shops, concert halls and casinos. The Venetian Las Vegas Hotel, for example, has 7,200 beds but employs 11,400 people directly. During the week I was there, there were over 120,000 people at a fair. Another thing, a cluster has a show arena and about 200 stores," he explained.

Machado Neto rejected the risk of casinos being used in the country for money laundering. "A cluster has to undergo strict compliance and federal government monitoring. In fact, it is a means of combating illegal gambling. With casinos, we will triple the number of foreign tourists," he said.

Translated by Kiratiana Freelon

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