Spanish officials have been caught passing off pictures from Australia and the Bahamas as their own in an effort to boost the country’s flagging tourism industry.
Officials from the Costa Brava Pyrenees Tourism authority have admitted using a photograph of a pristine beach and blue seas taken in Australia to illustrate a sun-baked strip of the northeastern Spanish coastline traditionally popular with British tourists.
The gaffe comes weeks after the same tourism authority was forced to withdraw a photograph of a woman on a beautiful clear beach used to publicise the Costa Brava after it turned out to have been shot in the Bahamas.
The latest slip will come as an unwelcome embarrassment as official figures released today showed that visitors to Spain fell 12 per cent in January and hotels have been forced to reduce prices by 2.6 per cent to lure tourists.
The photograph of a man and a boy standing on a white beach, staring out into a clear blue sea was used by Costa Brava tourism officials to mark the 100th anniversary of the Spanish coastline at the recent Forum Gastronimic, a food fair in the nearby city of Girona.
The text says: “Congratulations Costa Brava on 100 Years. You really are great.” In fact, it was a stock image owned by the company Getty Images of a beach in Perth, in Western Australia, 10,000 miles and a hemisphere away from the Costa Brava.