Home -> Law Blog Directory -> Academic Blogs -> Conglomerate
(866) 635-2689 for Personal Injury or (866) 635-9402 for Criminal Defense
Find a Local Lawyer
Divorce (866) 635-6190
Personal Injury (866) 635-2689
Criminal Defense (866) 635-9402
Lonely Planet Travel Writer Thomas Kohnstamm Gives New Meaning to the Phrase "Phone It In"
By Gordon Smith, Christine, Hurt, Vic Fleischer, Fred Tung, Lisa Fairfax, David Zaring
Forget backdating scandals and accounting scandals, a new fraud revelation is shaking the travel guide industry! Thomas Kohnstamm, a travel writer for among other publishers, Lonely Planet, is making news by blowing the whistle on the crafting of guidebooks. In particular, Kohnstamm claims that the payment schemes for travel writers (who contribute to guidebooks for a fee, but share no royalties and are not reimbursed for expenses) creates incentives for writers to cheat: accept free meals and lodging, cut and paste information on tourist sights from other sources, and include information for places not personally visited. As an outrageous example, Kohnstamm admits to not visiting Colombia while contributing to Lonely Planet's guidebook to that country. Kohnstamm recounts the results of these agency problems in his new book Do Travel Writers Go to Hell? A Swashbuckling Tale of High Adventures, Questionable Ethics & Professional Hedonism.
What is interesting is Kohnstamm's unapologetic non-whistleblower stance. Kohnstamm obviously thinks guidebook publishers should pay more if they want to get more, but he also thinks that buyers of guidebooks should take them with a grain of salt. I was listening to an interview with him on Sirius NPR, and he stressed that no guidebook is the insurer of the reader's vacation. So, if a reader stays at a resort based on its review in the book, which turns out to be recycled for years gone by, and the resort turns out to be a dump -- that's the readers fault for being so gullible. Interesting.
Search Blog Directory: