Winston Aldworth is the Herald's Travel Editor.

Winston Aldsworth: Caring for guests

The army aid convoy in Kaikoura with emergency supplies. Photo / Kurt Bayer
The army aid convoy in Kaikoura with emergency supplies. Photo / Kurt Bayer

The thing about New Zealand is it's really, really safe.

When international visitors (and, more importantly, prospective visitors) are asked what comes to mind when they think of New Zealand, the word "safe" is generally high on their list. "Hobbits" are also likely to get a mention and, if prodded, our would-be visitors might also imagine "clean waterways".

The Hobbits and the clean waterways are myths and courtesy of the recent stranding in Kaikoura of dozens of international visitors, the safety claim looks shaky at the moment, too.

The travel industry thrives on snippets of information and you can be sure that travel agents the world over received frequent and detailed briefings about the recent earthquakes and the effect they had on visitors to our shores.

That's just one of the reasons we should be grateful to the sterling work put in by Civil Defence, the Kaikoura community and, in particular, Ngai Tahu and the local Takahanga marae. They fed visitors, kept them warm and, when necessary, sorted them out for beds.

Good Kiwis.

But ongoing tremors could have a long-term impact. The perception of these things is key for the strength of our tourism economy. We must seem to be safe. The water must seem clean. "You want to see Hobbits, mate? Sure, just pay me a hundred bucks and go look in that hole ... "

Even in times of local suffering, we need to make sure there's a plan to care for our guests. It's the prudent - and decent - thing to do.

- NZ Herald

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

Winston Aldworth is the Herald's Travel Editor.

Have your say

1200 characters left

By and large our readers' comments are respectful and courteous. We're sure you'll fit in well.
View commenting guidelines.

Sort by
  • Oldest

© Copyright 2016, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf03 at 09 Dec 2016 00:14:45 Processing Time: 505ms