Boosting local tourism?

IN a “dog eats dog” world of today, “truth is often stranger than fiction”.

In the most hilarious case of identity theft ever, the Government of Ecuador tricked 40 Ecuadorean tourists into thinking they were visiting Costa Rica, when they were actually still in Ecuador.

This was no ordinary ruse: Local airline Tame, the South American country’s tourism ministry, and its Ministry of Transport and Public Works were all on it together.

The con included everything from planted souvenirs at the airport, to forged immigration documentation, to fake traffic signs and licence plates.

The unknowing “tourists” even went hiking and swimming during their “visit”.

The scam came to light via a YouTube video. Ecuador has since apologised to the Central American country, Costa Rica.

Costa Rica Tourism Minister Wilhelm von Breymann told the Tico Times: “We’re very proud they used Costa Rica as an example where everyone wants to visit. It’s a sign that we’re doing things right.”

After all, isn’t imitation the highest form of flattery?

Costa Rican officials seem to think so: “The advantage is that they used Costa Rica as one of the most beautiful countries to visit.”

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