SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - Travel publisher Lonely Planet said on Monday it was checking three of its books for inaccuracies after a writer who contributed to them said he had made up large sections of another guide.
Lonely Planet publisher Piers Pickard said Patagonian Chile, South America and the Caribbean Islands were being reviewed as a precaution after Thomas Kohnstamm admitted he broke company rules when writing a Brazil guide.
'In all three books, the content he writes is very much in a minority,' Mr Pickard said. 'And because he has made allegations about the integrity of that content, we're doing a full review.
'We've sent out authors to those countries, they are checking everything Thomas has written, and based on their findings, we will do whatever it takes to correct any inaccuracies in those books.'
In a yet to be released book about his experiences as a travel writer, Kohnstamm writes that he invented copy, plagiarised and sold drugs to make up for low pay while working on a now outdated guide to Brazil.
He also said he worked on a book for Colombia, though he didn't visit the country.
'I wrote the book in San Francisco,' he told Australia's Sunday Telegraph.
'I got the information from a chick I was dating - an intern in the Colombian consulate.'
'They don't pay enough for what they expect their authors to do.'
But Mr Pickard said Mr Kohnstamm was never meant to go to Colombia because he was merely contributing to the history section.
'Thomas was contracted to write about the history of the country,' he said.
'The guy's got a masters in Latin American studies, he actually studied Colombian history and culture as part of that specifically. We thought he was an expert.
'Two other authors were paid on that book to go to Colombia and they did.'
'They did the normal job we expect of our authors, which is to visit every hotel, every restaurant, every site.'
Mr Pickard said because of Mr Kohnstamm's claims, Lonely Planet would review his chapter in the Colombia book.
Mr Pickard also said Mr Kohnstamm had based his upcoming book 'Do Travel Writers Go To Hell?' on the writing of the 2005 Brazil guide, which has been replaced by the fully updated 2007 version.
'The claims he makes in that book are absolutely not an accurate representation of how our authors work or what goes into our guidebooks,' Mr Pickard said.
'On the broader thing about pay, we're the industry leaders for how much we pay our authors, the reason being we demand the best content so we have to pay to get the best writers.'
Lonely Planet guides, known as the 'backpackers bible,' were started more than 30 years ago by Australians Tony and Maureen Wheeler, who put together a list of travel tips after journeying home from Europe across Asia.
The Australian-based business, sold last year to BBC Worldwide, has expanded to some 500 titles carrying advice on accommodation, dining and transport for budget travellers venturing to destinations across the globe. -- AFP