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Great amateur travel video in Karon Beach

17 Aug

I am planning a trip and have found that a look around on Youtube is a great way to get a sense of a place before you plan to visit, or book.

Amateur videos often provide the best insights into specific areas, and can be quite detailed.

Among my favourites is from the Youtube user “Trollslander” who provides us with the “top ten things to do in Karon Beach, Thailand”.

Something about his earnest delivery, combined with the headband and locally purchased t-shirt that suggests that he really knows his way around Thailand, creates the kind of humour you can’t plan.

The video starts as a fairly generic top-ten list, but the humour starts around 0:40 with our host’s innocent claim not to know what a ping pong bar is.

From about 6:00 things start to heat up and our host is torn between his undertaking to provide a quality travel video, and his taste for the local night life. Nothing seedy – just good clean boozy fun.

I genuinely think this is one of the best travel videos I have seen – I wish they were all this good.

I am going to Karon Beach and am hoping to do a remake of it.


Go to Lebanon

15 Jul

Tourism Lebanon has created this beautiful destination marketing video that acknowledges conflicts in the Middle East. Sun, food, arguing and democracy. All part of a good holiday.

Good work Lebanon. I want to visit you.


Vintage footage of Hong Kong

12 May

Great video from the gang at travelfilmarchive, one of my favourite Youtube channels.

New Zealand Tourism Strategy 2015

28 Jul

In 2009 the New Zealand tourism industry banded together to develop a document named “New Zealand Tourism Strategy 2015”, to guide the industry.  It dealt with many issues facing the industry; such as sustainable tourism and domestic tourism in New Zealand.

In the past few years, the operating environment for tourism in New Zealand has changed considerably, and the strategy has dropped off the agenda somewhat. For one reason or another it is now quite hard to find on-line.

With this in mind, I am posting it here so that anyone who is interested can download the document.  So here it is – The New Zealand Tourism Strategy 2015.

Front cover of the New Zealand Tourism Strategy 2015

Why you should visit Christchurch: the pop-up mall

21 Jan

Christchurch is a great place for tourists or anyone to visit.  One reason is the very cool new pop-up mall.

For those of you who don’t live in New Zealand or who do, but have living under a rock, Christchurch has suffered several massive earthquakes and several thousand aftershocks since the first decent shake on September 2010.  The ongoing earthquakes have hampered efforts to rehabilitate the city and its infrastructure, and have started to really get to people.

Put simply, all the old buildings in what was the main shopping street in Christchurch have fallen down or been pulled down and in their place are a bunch of brightly coloured shipping containers with glass fronts and containing very cool shops.  Not only does this pop-up mall offer better shopping than Chashell Street did before the earthquake, it offers the best shopping in New Zealand.  I know this is a big claim but its not a big country and I do like to shop.

The shops themselves are a perfect blend of Christchurch’s best – from the swanky Ballentynes ‘urban’ store (where my girlfriend bought some Armani gumboots!) to the old Johnson’s the Grocers.  Johnson’s was an iconic grocer in Colombo Street where the shelves groaned under the weight of imported foods from around the world but especially anywhere that smelly cheese proliferates.

The mood of the place is uplifting.  I admit I was there just before Christmas, but the mall seems to represent a positive future for Christchurch – one where losing old buildings doesn’t mean losing the character of the city.

It is interesting because just over the a wire fence (seen everywhere, it seems, in Christchurch) is the sound, only one block away, of the central city being pulled down one building at a time.  This sound is normally an eerie and melancholic one – the slow death of a lost CBD.  But from the pop-up mall the sound can only be heard behind the buzz of commerce, the energetic noise of espresso machines, and buskers’ music.  Then it sounds more like a solemn but steady optimism for the future of Christchurch’s CBD which will be a blank canvas for inspiring and unique places like the pop-up mall to, well…pop-up!

Colourful containers housing shops with people shopping outside

Some of Christchurch's well established shops are housed in the container mall

Shipping container cafe with stone garden in foreground

The pop-up mall has a surreal feeling to it

Slow photography: New Zealand photo essay

20 Oct

From the great travel-inspired blog and online magazine Matador Network and the Glimpse Correspondents Programme a chap’s epic journey of slow-photography around beeeautiful New Zealand.  This involves breaking photography down to its basic elements – some photograph paper, a box (or similar) with a pin-hole in it, some time and patience and some luck.

It’s just real cool – well done this guy.

Black and white picture of a lake and mountains

I quit

16 Oct

I haven’t posted for a while.

The truth is that after 25+ years in or around the tourism industry, including washing dishes, going trout fishing, rafting, making coffee, pulling pints, washing more dishes, carving ham, making beds, baking bread, placing advertisements, selling advertisements, dropping off brochures, hiring DJs, bouncing, white water rafting, shagging backpackers, pouring wine, researching, studying, saving the planet, working for cafes, restaurants, bars, hotels, backpackers, adventure operations, regional tourism organisations, industry associations, convention centres, foreign countries, NGOs, winners, losers, legends, assholes, I am not working in tourism any more.

I am charting a different course for now.

This doesn’t mean the end of my blog or, indeed, the end of my involvement in tourism.

For the last few months I have been tutoring a course in sustainable tourism at Victoria University of Wellington. I really wanted to share some of my experience with the young folks down there. Bit patronising but there you go. It has been a great experience. Not so great this weekend as I am marking assignments.

I feel like I have had a bit of a break from the blog now so hopefully some more coming for my two followers (including my sister).