The racy advert is due to be launched on Thursday 9 August, just weeks ahead of Pope Francis’ tour of the Baltic region, which begins in Lithuania.
The campaign’s tagline is “Nobody knows where it is, but when you find it – it’s amazing. Vilnius: the G-spot of Europe” and features a young woman lying on a map of Europe with her hand gripping Lithuania, her eyes closed in ecstatic bliss.
Critics have questioned the timing of the campaign in a country where the majority of residents identify as Catholic.
Lithuanian priests are reported to have claimed that the image has “used women’s sexuality for advertising” and given outsiders “wrong ideas” about Vilnius.
Advertising students from the country created the contentious campaign in an effort to attract attention to Vilnius as an alternative city-break destination.
One of the campaign’s student creators, Jurgis Ramanauskas, commented: “Few people know where Vilnius really is, but when they arrive they fall in love with the city.
“This insight came from our conversations with international visitors, and we formulated the idea that Vilnius is synonymous with the G-spot theory – nobody knows where it is, but, when it is discovered, everyone is very pleased!”
Both the city mayor, Remigijus Šimašius, and Inga Romanovskienė, director of the Vilnius Tourism and Business Development Agency, approved of the campaign.
Ms Romanovskienė described the campaign as “extremely engaging“, adding that the city “looks forward to welcoming new international visitors to Vilnius and continuing to promote the city’s best tourism attractions and experiences”.
Lonely Planet named Vilnius one of Europe‘s top 10 destinations for 2018 and, coupled with the attention the new campaign is likely to generate, the future for the city‘s tourism industry looks bright.