Monday, 28 February 2011

Phil Keoghan of "The Amazing Race" reports from Christchurch after the earthquake

This morning Phil Keoghan, the host of The Amazing Race, did some real reporting on the CBS Early Show from his hometown on the aftermath of the earthquake last week in Christchurch, New Zealand:

Phil Keoghan in Christchurch

It’s a fine piece, and worth watching in its entirety. (Off note: CBS misspelled “Keoghan” as “Koeghan” in the on-screen caption, as shown above.) The most interesting part is at the end, beginning at 4:30:

To be honest with you,the best thing that people can do is to come to New Zealand.

Now that sounds crazy, but this damage is isolated to a very small part of New Zealand, an area, you know, the size of lower Manhattan. And tourism is such a huge and crucial, vital part of New Zealand. It’s almost 10% of the GDP, about 15 billion dollars, and we just can’t afford a second hit of people who stop coming to this country.

So if people want to help, don’t cancel your trip to New Zealand. If you are thinking about a life-changing trip, come to New Zealand, because the rest of the country is open for business.

I said much the same thing after the earthquake in Chile last year:

Tourists are typically scared away from a substantially larger area, for a substantially longer period of time, than conditions warrant and/or than local people — who are eager to get their jobs serving tourists back, and to start recouping their investment in reconstruction of tourism capacity and infrastructure as soon as possible — would prefer.

I regularly receive press releases and come-ons from hotels, tour operators, and destination marketing organizations struggling to persuade me, and to get me to tell my readers, that tourist facilities are open for business and able to offer tourists a good time in some place that suffered from a natural or political disaster, or whose reputation was tainted by such an event “nearby” (where “nearby” may have meant, as in the case of Chile, 2,000 km or 1,000 miles or more away). If you plan well but are flexible and realistic about what you will find, these destinations can be travel bargains: affordable, uncrowded, and with many new facilities.

So best wishes to my friends in New Zealand — and “Bon voyage” to those who go to visit!

[Update: Another interview of Phil Keoghan in Christchurch from TV-NZ, and more outtakes from Phil’s filming in Christchurch for CBS.]

Link | Posted by Edward on Monday, 28 February 2011, 14:52 ( 2:52 PM)
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