Jurgita Kazlauskienė, director of the Lithuanian State Tourism Department, has announced plans to resign after meeting with Economy Minister Mindaugas Sinkevičius on Friday.
Jurgita Kazlauskienė
© DELFI / Andrius Ufartas

"I have decided to step down as the head of the State Tourism Department," Kazlauskienė told journalists after meeting with Economy Minister Mindaugas Sinkevičius.

In her words, the decision was in the back of her mind for a long time, with the final move triggered "by yesterday's events and the events of the past few months."

"I do not want the Tourism Department and the people working here, gifted people and sincere people along with their efforts to come under attack. I truly hope that my departure will enable the department (…) to efficiently carry out all of the planned activities," she added.

The economy minister said the ministry had opened a probe into the project to present Lithuania, adding that an internal audit would be conducted into the overall situation at the Tourism Department.

"Who would think it ordinary to promote and present your country by using another country's photographs? Is that a normal practice? I don't think so," said Sinkevičius.

"I think that if we present ourselves as a country, and we do have things to present (…), we should be showing them rather than some other objects," he added.

After 15min.lt news portal said on Thursday that authors of the Lithuania. Real is Beautiful page on Facebook use inexpensive illustrations from Shutterstock and Flickr portals, a wave of ironic entries flooded social networks, presenting world-famous objects as locations in Lithuania with the hashtag #realisbeautiful.

Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis also stepped in, publishing on his Facebook wall a photograph of the European Commission's headquarters in Brussels with a description: Starting tomorrow, we are moving to a new government building in Karoliniškės (a neighborhood in Lithuania's capital Vilnius).

Gabrielius Landsbergis, the leader of the opposition Homeland Union – Lithuanian Christian Democrats (conservatives) published a photograph of US President Donald Trump and said it was a moment from the election for party leadership timed for this weekend.

The last year's tender for marketing on social networks, advertisement and content marketing services was won by a consortium of Open Agency and Turinio Rinkodara agencies for 140,000 euros.

Tomas Nemura, CEO at Turinio Rinkodara, told BNS on Friday that using photographs taken outside Lithuania was a mistake, which would not be repeated.

"Of course, it was a mistake, we apologize to the people who felt deceived and let down, as well as to our client," Nemura told BNS.

Kazlauskienė has been heading the Tourism Department since January of 2015.

According to data provided by Statistics Lithuania, 1.2 million foreigners used accommodation services in Lithuania in January-September of 2016, up by 11 percent year-on-year.

Ignitis Group plans to delist its subsidiaries from Nasdaq Vilnius

Lithuania's state-owned energy group Ignitis Grupe (former Lietuvos Energija ) is planning to...

Norwegians press exporters to cut prices amid weakening krone

The weakening of Norway 's krone against the euro has not yet hit Lithuanian exports to the...

Lithuanian Post's board refuse to stay on after ministry orders halt to sale of buildings

Independent members of the management board of Lietuvos Pastas ( Lithuanian Post ) have refused to...

Lithuanian gears up for reconstruction of Via Baltica's section until Polish border

Lithuania's Road Administration is getting ready for the 300 million euro worth reconstruction of...

SAI Global to open Centre of Excellence in Vilnius

A multinational leading provider of integrated risk management solutions, assurance and property...