Friday, January 12, 2007

Nepal Tourism Mistakenly uses Peru Inca photos

Royal Nepal Airlines has apologized to Peru after mistakenly using a photo of the Inca ruins of Machu Picchu to promote tourism in Nepal.

Peru's foreign ministry said in a statement Wednesday the flagship carrier of the Himalayan kingdom, about half way around the world from the Andean country, had put the picture of Peru's tourism icon, Machu Picchu, on a poster under a slogan "Have you seen Nepal?"

Peruvian mountaineer Ernesto Malaga, who was visiting India last month, noticed the blunder on a poster hanging on a wall in the airline's office in New Delhi. Peruvian authorities requested explanations from the airline via the embassy.

"The airline ... offered apologies to Peru for using the picture of the Machu Picchu Sanctuary on a poster to promote their country and assured that the lamentable error has been corrected," the statement said.

"As a consequence, the Nepalese airline fired an employee in the rank of a manager ... It is concluded that it was an isolated error," it added.

From a distance, some mountain temples in the Himalayas could be mistaken for Incan ruins, which also cling to steep slopes.

Nepal is actively promoting tourism in the hope that foreigners will return in big numbers to visit its snow-capped mountains and ancient temples after a long Maoist revolt.

In the meantime, Peru's government is urging residents and visitors to vote for the Andean Machu Picchu site as one of the world's new seven wonders in a publicity campaign by the New7Wonders Foundation (

Built in the 1460s and abandoned for three centuries after the Spanish conquest, Machu Picchu, or "Old Peak" in the Quechua language, was rediscovered by U.S. archeologist Hiram Bingham in 1911.

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