Lonely Planet says it stands by the accuracy of its travel guides following an author’s claims that he plagiarized and invented sections of the books.
Lonely Planet’s guide book publisher, Piers Pickard, says the company is reviewing the books that author Thomas Kohnstamm contributed to but has so far found nothing inaccurate.
He says Lonely Planet’s reputation was built on the integrity of its books and any inaccuracies would be quickly fixed.
Australia’s Herald Sun and Sunday Telegraph newspapers reported Kohnstamm’s claims that he made up parts of the books he wrote, lifted information from other publications and accepted gifts in contravention of Lonely Planet’s policies.
He also said he did not visit one of the countries he wrote about.
The writer, who lives in Seattle, is promoting his new book Do Travel Writers Go To Hell? about his experiences in the guidebook business.
“They didn’t pay me enough to go to Colombia,” Kohnstamm was quoted as saying. “I wrote the book in San Francisco. I got the information from a chick I was dating who was an intern in the Colombian consulate.”
Pickard said Kohnstamm’s claim about the book on Colombia were “disingenuous” because he was hired to write about the country’s history, not to travel there to review accommodation and restaurants. That work was done by two other authors.
“Thomas’ claims are not an accurate reflection of how our authors work,” Pickard told The Associated Press.
Kohnstamm declined to comment to The Associated Press and an e-mail to his publicist wasn’t returned by late Sunday.
His website says he holds a masters degree in Latin American studies and has written more than a dozen books for Lonely Planet and contributed to other travel sections.