A bad week for Mexican tourism promotion got worse when the English language version of the country’s tourism website appeared with hilarious mis-translations.
Entire states like Hidalgo and Guerrero apparently got machine translated as Noble and Warrior.
Even worse for the VisitMexico.com site, there was systematic and inexplicable re-invention of the names of some fairly well-known tourist towns.
The Caribbean resort of Tulum became Jumpsuit. The nearby lagoon of Bacalar, on the Caribbean coast, was switched to the Gulf coast state of Tabasco.
Stop making Mexico look ridiculous!Former president Felipe Calderon
The confusion came the day after the US State Department gave the high number of Covid-19 cases in Mexico as the reason for issuing a “do not travel” advisory for the country, its highest level of warning.
Hours earlier, the resort of Acapulco was forced to withdraw “anything goes” tourism adverts that showed people partying without masks and the words “there are no rules”.
But the problems at VisitMexico.com drew howls of hilarity – and anger.
The Pacific coast resort of Puerto Escondido became Hidden Port, a literal translation, and the northern city of Torreon became Turret, which is close.
Some name changes were just inexplicable and appeared to have as much to do with invention as simple translation.
The central Mexican town of Aculco somehow became I Blame, and the northern Gulf coast city of Ciudad Madero became Log.
“Stop making Mexico look ridiculous!” former president Felipe Calderon wrote on his Twitter account.
Mexico’s tourism department issued a statement apologising for the apparently out-sourced errors, but then made it sound as though something sinister had been involved.
“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.”
The department did not explain the claim, but local media reported the dispute might involve a web services supplier angry about not being paid.
On Thursday, officials took down two Acapulco video adverts touting the faded resort’s reputation as a nightclubbing spot – despite the fact that nightclubs are currently closed to enforce social distancing.
They said the adverts were not appropriate during the coronavirus pandemic.
“We have stopped being a postcard from the past, today we have changed the rules,” says a narration in one of the videos.
“In fact, there are no rules,” says another voice, as people can be seen eating meals and going out to nightclubs.
“Eat whatever you want, have fun day and night and into the early morning hours – find new friends and new loves.”