It has been a bad week for the promotion of tourism in Mexico, and on Friday it worsened with the appearance of hilarious translations in the English version of the website of the agency in charge.
The names of states like Hidalgo and Guerrero were literally changed to “Noble” and “Warrior”.
And even worse for the VisitMexico.com portal, there was a systematic and inexplicable reinvention of the names of some well-known tourist towns. The one from Tulum in the Caribbean for some reason was changed to “Jumpsuit” (“Jumpsuit” to dress). The nearby Bacalar lagoon was changed to the state of Tabasco, on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico.
The chaos occurred a day after the US State Department mentioned the high number of COVID-19 cases in Mexico to recommend “not traveling” to the country, its highest level of warning. Hours earlier, the tourist town of Acapulco was forced to remove ads that included images of people having fun without wearing masks accompanied by the words “there are no rules.”
But the problems at VisitMexico.com caused hilarity … and anger. The tourist town of Puerto Escondido on the Pacific coast was literally translated to “Hidden Port”, and the northern city of Torreón to “Turret”, which is more or less its meaning.
Some name changes were simply inexplicable and seemed to have more to do with the invention than with the simple translation. The Mexican town of Aculco, in the center of the country, for some reason was converted to “I Blame” (“I blame”), and Ciudad Madero, in the north of the Gulf of Mexico coast, appeared as “Log” (” Trunk”).
“Stop making a fool of Mexico!” Wrote former President Felipe Calderón on his Twitter account.
The Tourism Secretariat apologized in a statement for the errors, apparently from a contractor, but also hinted that something sinister was involved.
“It also makes known that these acts are intended to damage the image of both the portal and the secretariat, so the corresponding complaint has been made and action will be taken in accordance with the law against who or who are responsible,” he added.
The secretariat did not explain this assertion, but according to local press the dispute could imply the disagreement of an internet service provider that has not received their pay.
On Thursday, authorities removed a pair of video advertisements about Acapulco that promoted the reputation of that tourist port for intense nightlife, despite the fact that nightclubs are closed due to social distancing provisions. They said the ads were inappropriate during the coronavirus pandemic.
“Today we stop being a postcard from the past … today we change the rules,” says a voice narrating one of the videos. “In fact there are no rules,” says another voice that accompanies images of people eating strange dishes and going to nightclubs. “Eat what you want, have fun day and night and at dawn … make many friends and new loves.”