Lonely Planet scandal emerges

Lonely Planet rocked by claims of free trips, plagiarism

THE Lonely Planet guidebook empire is reeling from claims by one of its authors that he plagiarised and made up large sections of his books and dealt drugs to make up for poor pay.

Thomas Kohnstamm, whose explosive new book Do Travel Writers Go To Hell? is out this month, also claims to have accepted freebies in contravention of the Melbourne-based company’s policies.

Kohnstamm told The Sunday Mail yesterday he had worked on more than a dozen books for Lonely Planet, including their titles on Brazil, Colombia, the Caribbean, South America, Venezuela and Chile.

In one case he said that he had not even visited the country he had written about.

“They didn’t pay me enough to go Colombia,” he said.

“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.”

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