Fake Bahrain tourism 'advert' sparks outrage
Manama, April 26, 2010
A fake tourism advertisement illustrating Bahrain with picturesque shorelines and rocky cliffs has sparked outrage among tourism officials.
The Information and Culture Ministry's Tourism Sector has now launched an official probe into the publication of the advertisement, saying it represents a misleading image of Bahrain, according to a report in our sister newspaper Gulf Daily News (GDN).
Officials say that Bahrain is proud of its true image and must not be misrepresented for financial gains.
The advert, which has been circulated on the Internet, shows a poster welcoming tourists to a beach with cliffs and greenery in the background in addition to several sun loungers placed along the shoreline.
It also includes the official website of Bahrain Tourism and the Tourism Sector's logo, misleading people into believing it's an official advertisement.
However, Tourism Sector revenue head Huda Al Hamer dismissed the advertisement as fake confirming that the ministry didn't publish the poster.
Al Hamer said the ministry had launched an official investigation into the matter, adding it would take extreme measures against those responsible.
'The advertisement that was released under the ministry's name is fake and does not belong to the company or the tourism sector,' she said.
'It was brought to our attention on Thursday and as soon as we looked into its credibility, we launched an investigation.
'The poster was not approved for release by anyone in the ministry even though it includes its official logo.
'We are still not sure who posted the advertisement and we will take extreme measures when we reach the source.'
It was Bahraini Ali Najeeb, who brought the advertisement to GDN's attention yesterday.
The 28-year-old received the advertisement by e-mail, which had been forwarded to several people in Bahrain and had the subject 'World's Most Misleading Advert'.
'My brother e-mailed me the poster and when I first saw it I immediately wondered about the location of this beach because no one has ever seen something like it in Bahrain,' he said.
'I initially assumed that someone had posted the picture under Bahrain's name because they were too lazy to actually add our country's beautiful scenery or because they just wanted to quickly finish a job,' he explained.
'But this is wrong because the poster represents a false image of Bahrain and since it's been posted on the Internet, it means that it's being broadcast all over the world.
'We should be proud of being Bahraini and what we have and not advertise misleading images.'-TradeArabia News Service