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Clumsy Mexican tourism campaign gets lost in translation

Agency implies sabotage as U.S. tightens travel restrictions

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Mexico’s tourism efforts went from bad to worse when the English language version of a website appeared with hilariously bad translations.

Somehow, the resort town of Tulum became “Jumpsuit” and Hidalgo and Guerrero apparently got Google-translated as “Noble” and “Warrior,” respectively.

The snafu on VisitMexico.com came one day after the U.S. State Department cited the high number of COVID-19 cases in Mexico for issuing a “do not travel” advisory for the country, its highest level of warning. Just hours earlier, Acapulco was forced to pull a tone-deaf “anything goes” campaign that showed people partying without masks and the tagline “there are no rules.”

The Pacific coast resort of Puerto Escondido was translated literally as “Hidden Port,” and the northern city of Torreon became “Turret.”

“Stop making Mexico look ridiculous!” former President Felipe Calderón wrote on Twitter.

Mexico’s Tourism Department apologized while spinning the situation into something sinister.

“The Tourism Department expresses its most sincere apologies to the public and users for the effects that have occurred on the website VisitMexico,” the statement said. “Moreover, we make it known that these acts aim to damage the image of the website and the department, and so therefore a criminal complaint has been filed and appropriate legal actions will be taken against those responsible.”

Local media reported the dispute might involve a web services supplier angry about not being paid.

On Thursday, a pair of Acapulco video ads were removed for touting the faded resort’s reputation as a nightclubbing spot although the pandemic has closed the nightclubs. A narration implied that coronavirus never happened.

“… There are no rules,” reads the voiceover. “Eat whatever you want, have fun day and night and into the early morning hours … find new friends and new loves.”

With information from The Associated Press

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