Lowcostholidays is attempting to distance itself from a website that used a photo of missing British girl Madeleine McCann to promote the operator's holidays to Portugal.
The advert VoucherDigg.co.uk, used a photo of Madeleine released by her parents soon after she disappeared from their holiday accommodation in the Algarve resort of Praia da Luz five years ago.
The image of Madeleine, aged three at the time, was used to highlight lowcostholidays' deals to Albufeira, a resort 25 miles from where Madeleine disappeared. Underneath her photo, read the caption: "Hurry up for time is limited. Take the ones you loved and enjoy your life."
Lowcost Travel Group CEO Lawrence Hunt apologised for the distress the use of Madeleine's image might have caused, but said the operator had no advertising contract with VoucherDigg. He told the Daily Star he was "outraged" the photo had been linked to his company.
Hunt said VoucherDigg had picked up its offers via an affiliate network but that Lowcost had not given it permission to feature its holidays.
He said Lowcost had acted swiftly to break weblinks between its site yesterday and VoucherDigg and demand that the photo be removed. The site was down at the time of writing.
Lowcostholidays last night warned all its affiliate partners that in future they must ask its permission before using any images or copy to promote its holidays.
A spokesman for Madeleine's parents Gerry and Kate McCann said the use of her photo was "appallingly insensitve".
By Linsey McNeill
Wednesday, May 9, 2012