Two tourism ministry websites have removed photos they used to promote rural destinations in southern Vietnam after a local photographer pointed out they had been shot in Thailand and Indonesia.
One story promoting Cai Be market in Tien Giang Province in the Mekong Delta was first published on www.vanhoa.gov.vn on August 20 with five photos of boats carrying fruits and others on a river.
Duy Anh, a photographer from Tien Giang, was quoted by Tuoi Tre newspaper as saying he saw the photos and only two of them looked like being from southern Vietnam.
“The hat style, the boats and clothes in the other photos did not seem to belong to Cai Be or anywhere in Vietnam.”
He searched for the photos online and found they were of floating markets in Thailand and Indonesia.
Photos of a floating market in Thailand, which appeared on a Vietnamese tourism ministry website purporting to be Cai Be market in the Mekong Delta
The website had also used a Thai image for a story about the province in February last year.
The same one appeared on the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) website www.vietnamtourism.gov.vn purporting to be a night market in Ben Tre, also in southern Vietnam, he found out.
Many tourism companies also use foreign images to promote destinations in the Mekong Delta.
“People doing tourism business in Vietnam are lying to tourists. What if they come and realize it does not look like in the photos?” Duy said.
The Thai and Indonesian photos were no longer in the Cai Be story Thursday.
It followed a claim by Phan Dinh Tan, a ministry spokesperson, that people in charge of the website might have used the wrong photos because of ignorance of their origin.
Nguyen Van Tuan, director of VNAT, said he had the wrong photos removed and promised it would not happen again.