Tourism in New Zealand

Sun.Star Davao - - OPINION -

NZ is not all about sheep and cat­tle. The ma­jor in­dus­try in this land in the deeper south of the globe is tourism.

I saw this in a din­ner-cum-cul­tural show of Maori tribe in Ro­torua, New Zealand. Tourists from 21 coun­tries gath­ered in rus­tic set­tings. Ex­cept for the fork and spoon and plas­tic chairs, ev­ery­thing is eth­nic. About 500 for­eign­ers trav­eled by bus to watch the cul­tural show, na­tive food and a night tour which took us to their forest pre­serve where glow worms and spring that was their source of wa­ter for cen­turies can be found.

Ear­lier, we drove sev­eral kilo­me­ters, like it’s al­most 200 kilo­me­ters away from Ro­torua to get to the Mata­mata where the movie Lord of the Ring was shot.

Along the way is an end­less ex­panse of graz­ing lands poke marked by herds of sheeps and cat­tles. It’s like as far as your eyes can see.

It is of­ten said that there are more sheeps than the 17-mil­lion New Zealan­ders but am con­fi­dent to say that there are more tourist ar­rivals here than sheeps and cows com­bined.

Last night as we were hav­ing din­ner at the Maori tribe re­cep­tion hall, a young lady from Eng­land who was seated right across our ta­ble re­lated that she had been around so many coun­tries but noth­ing beats the Philip­pines’ Vi­gan, the rice ter­races which she de­scribes as “mag­nif­i­cent view” and the beaches of Bo­hol. She promised to go back to the Philip­pines as there are a lot of beau­ti­ful sites to visit. And the food? “Noth­ing beats the Philip­pines”, she swore ad­dress­ing a ques­tion raised by her seat­mates.

Which made me think and ask why our tourism in­dus­try is still a lag­gard com­pared to other coun­tries.

If we look at the pro­file of tourists big spenders are the Chi­nese (com­prised of the new rich who had emerged in this decade), Ja­panese, Kore­ans and the Euro­peans. These peo­ple are in search of mother na­ture, eth­nic shows and food. In many as­pects the Philip­pines is not far be­hind. In fact we have more to show and of­fer than most coun­tries.

We have such a rare eth­nic mix­ture of cul­tures. Our food vari­ance is ex­cel­lent, peo­ple speak English, our moun­tain and sea re­sorts are within 30 min­utes from ho­tel ac­com­mo­da­tions and weather is pre­dictable.

Tourist pro­mo­tions is a must and tourism-ori­ented in­srt­tutions should rely less on gov­ern­ment. There ought to be co­op­er­a­tion among re­sorts, ho­tels, restau­rants, air­line firms and other es­tab­lish­ments that are into tourism. Not one sin­gle out­fit can de­liver ev­ery­thing that tourists ex­pect in a place. More on this in fu­ture fea­ture write­ups.

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