Thursday 20 June 2019

Lithuanian capital to launch G-spot tourism ad before papal visit

The campaign promoting Vilnius has drawn criticism from the Catholic Church.

Pope Francis is scheduled to visit Lithuania in September (Gregorio Borgia/AP)
Pope Francis is scheduled to visit Lithuania in September (Gregorio Borgia/AP)

By Liudas Dapkus, Associated Press

Tourism chiefs in Lithuania’s capital are coming under fire for a sexualised advertising campaign to promote the city as the Pope prepares to visit next month.

The campaign features a woman lying on what looks like a bed sheet printed with a map of Europe. Her hand grips Lithuania in a way that suggests sexual pleasure.

The text above her reads: “Vilnius, the G-spot of Europe. Nobody knows where it is, but when you find it, it’s amazing.”

The campaign has been criticised by the Catholic Church and comes as Pope Francis prepares to visit the country next month.

Lithuanian Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis said he does not find the campaign, set to be launched on Thursday in London and Berlin, offensive to standards of public decency, but acknowledged its timing was “rather weird”.

“I think it’s a strange advertising choice, but I believe it does not cross the line in a democratic country,” Mr Skvernelis told Lithuanian public broadcaster LRT.

Francis’ September 22-25 tour of Baltic countries is supposed to start in Lithuania, where Catholics are the religious majority.

“As to the timing, we are speaking about a very important visit to Lithuania,” the prime minister added, referring to the pope’s visit. “So perhaps these steps should have been co-ordinated, but that’s the decision of Vilnius.”

Lithuanian priests expressed concerns that the ad used “women’s sexuality for advertising” and gave “wrong ideas” about Vilnius, a city with a population of 540,000. The government earlier originally asked Vilnius officials to postpone the ad’s launch until after the papal visit.

Inga Romanovskiene, the manager of the Go Vilnius tourism agency behind the campaign, called the pope’s visit “a very important event.”

Vilnius faces “a very high level of competition from other European cities” when it comes to marketing, and those who presented the campaign had “an extremely engaging idea to drive interest in the city”, she said.

Press Association

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