The department came under criticism after media reports that the platform Real is Beautiful uses illustrations made abroad.
The news triggered a wave of ironic entries on social networks, presenting world-famous objects as locations in Lithuania. Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis didn’t stand aside, publishing on his Facebook wall a photograph of the European Commission’s headquarters in Brussels with a description: Starting tomorrow, we are moving to a new government building in Karoliniškės (a neighborhood in Lithuania’s capital Vilnius).
Mindaugas Janulionis, spokesman for the economy minister, told BNS that top officials of the Tourism Department would be “asked to provide explanations” on Friday.
“Strangely enough, the State Tourism Department’s tender conditions allowed using photographs that do not reflect Lithuania. Real is Beautiful is a platform for presenting Lithuania worldwide,” said Janulionis.
15min.lt news portal said on Thursday that authors of the Lithuania. Real is Beautiful page on Facebook use inexpensive illustrations from Shutterstock and Flickr portals.
The last year’s tender for marketing on social networks, advertisement and content marketing services was won by a consortium of Open Agency and Turinio Rinkodara agencies for 140,000 euros.
Spokeswoman for the Tourism Department told the portal that Turinio Rinkodara had not violated conditions of the contract, as the department needed 700 photographs, including merely 350 original ones. She noted that the photographs were intended to communicate an motion, therefore, the location was insignificant.
According to the website of the State Tourism Department, the Lithuanian tourism trademark Real is Beautiful was presented last October and is “currently being actively introduced into tourism marketing instruments, presented in national and international tourism events, exhibitions and social network profiles Lithuania. Have You Been Here and Lithuania. Real is Beautiful, with virtual reality films and new tourism publications developed in line with the concept of the new tourism trademark.”