After a month in the UK with little sign in the media that NZ exists, it’s been good to meet English folk in the street who have an instant affinity with our country.
Like the checkout operator at a Yeovil supermarket in Somerset who asked whether I lived anywhere near Middle Earth country.
Many other English folk say the same sort of thing. Only the middle and upper classes appreciate rugby and the All Blacks. For the great mass of Brits it’s Lord of the Rings that’s put us on their radar.
The Kapiti Coast’s Sir Peter Jackson deserves our congratulations for all this. Teachers at Kapiti College in Raumati Beach can have had no inkling that a fairly middling pupil like Jackson would turn out to be the student who really made a difference to so many fellow Kiwis.
Lots of people I meet have been to NZ and I’ve yet to hear a bad reaction — once visitors get past the hassle of organising a rental vehicle and getting good information about what’s available.
It seems the most basic key service is lacking — a really good tourist information service at airports like Christchurch’s. An immediate ‘Meet, Greet and Help’ service could work wonders for our image.
An English engineer called Peter I met yesterday said when he got to Christchurch Airport he was told no rental cars were available; and he was given misleading information about accommodation.
Peter said he was told it was difficult to get accommodation in key tourist spots in the south Island, but this wasn’t so. He said he and his wife found plenty to choose from once they got their ‘Juicy’ van — chosen because of the lack of rental cars — on the road.
So, good on you ordinary Kiwis who do the best job of all in tourism — making visitors welcome and ‘at home.’ It’s you guys who are creating the best picture of all for tourism!