By Anna Fitzpatrick, Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – After the resignation this week, of the fifth member of her government, President Dilma Rousseff inaugurated a new Minister of Tourism, Gastão Vieira, in a private ceremony at the Presidential Palace on Friday afternoon. Press were not invited to attend the ceremony.
Gastão Vieira has replaced Pedro Novais as the Ministry of Tourism, which has many important tasks on the horizon with the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympics Games expected to double the amount of tourist in Brazil those years. Novais resigned on Wednesday in a storm of suspicion over the use of public funds.
Vieria, like his predecessor represents the northeastern state Maranhão in the Senate. During the ceremony President Rousseff highlighted the challenges that lie ahead for the new department – not only the sporting events, but also the challenge for Brazil to improve their domestic flight services.
In return Vieria acknowledged the importance of the social program Brasil Sem Miséria or ‘Brazil without Poverty’ and will use the department dealings to promote the program.
According to Embratur, 1.4 million tourists visit Rio every year and this is expected to more than double, increasing to 3.3 million. For Brazil, the goal is to increase the number from 5 to 10 million visitors annually. The ministry has been under fire for corruption allegations over the last month, while President Rousseff’s “faxina” or cleanup campaign continues.
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