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Tourist trap: A sign of the times...

By This is Cornwall  |  Posted: July 14, 2008

The slogan of the Porthemmet beach on the web site.

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THE mastermind behind a fictitious website encouraging tourists to look for a non-existent beach has resurrected the hoax.

Fresh signs, pointing the way to Porthemmet Beach, have re-emerged around the county.

Described as the 'best beach in Cornwall' on its website – www.porthemmet.com – Porthemmet successfully reeled in tourists following its launch last year, sending visitors on a merry-go-round across Cornwall.

Tourists were eventually led out of the county with a series of signs on the A30.

But now fresh signs have appeared – including one at Kingsley Village services, Fraddon. Jokingly, website creator, Jonty Haywood, said: “I think that all the signs here, no pun intended, point to one obvious culprit.

“Osama bin Laden! We haven't heard from him in quite a while, and sneaking around the Cornish countryside misleading tourists is exactly the kind of thing I'd expect from him.”

On a more serious note, Jonty – originally from Truro – explained the real reason for the new signs.

He said: “I have heard that the first person to e-mail the location of all seven signs to mail@porthemmet.com will win a Porthemmet T-shirt.”

The Porthemmet website hit national headlines last year, following a story in the Cornish Guardian. The use of the word Emmett – a derisory term for a tourist – gives the game away to locals.

But the site convinced many tourists, telling them: “There is a private joke in Cornwall whereby locals will pretend to not know where Porthemmet Beach is. Don't be fooled!”

Mr Haywood said the idea for the hoax came after a similar prank in Scandinavia, where locals would tell tourists to go to a mythical bar, called the Ice Bar, the best in the area.

The website and a fan page on social networking website Facebook have proved popular. The Facebook site has nearly 3,000 members. For more, visit www.porthemmet.com

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