Archive for March, 2010

A global salute

March 9th, 2010

Local knowledge is absolute king in tourism and indigenous operators can offer an intimacy of experience about their respective cultures that simply can’t be beat. This advantage is being increasingly recognised around the world, with the work of indigenous operators in Australian and New Zealand high on the list.

Congratulations go to Brambuk National Park and Cultural Centre in the Grampians National Park (Gariwerd) in Victoria and Kakadu Culture Camp, owned and operated by Fred and Jenny Hunter.

Both outfits were judged runners-up in the 2010 ITBW Awards highlighting “the contribution of indigenous operators to biological and cultural diversity”. The winner was Nutti Sami Siida which runs reindeer sled trips in Sweden.

The popular vote, however, went to Auckland region specialist T.I.M.E Unlimited Tours. Another New Zealand operator Te Urewera Treks was also a runner-up. It’s eco-cultural wilderness treks adhere to Maori principles and values of sustainability.

Indigenous operators from 10 countries were considered. The ITBW awards may not rival the Oscars, yet every tiny spark of recognition surely helps boost the fortunes of homespun outfits striving to achieve best of practice while offering something unique to tourists. So now you know who to choose when you go.

Connection conundrum

March 3rd, 2010

Why do the most expensive hotels charge their guests extra for web access when the cheapest hotels offer it free of charge? It seems to be a prime example of “the more you pay, the less you get”.

There’s free internet in two-star budget hotels. You find it in a tiny café. But not in a five-star establishment with a multi-million dollar annual budget. The luxury end of the market persists in gouging guests as much as $25 a day for the privilege of connection. It doesn’t make sense. You’d think their top-notch room rates might include value-added extras. And there are some hotels that charge separately for in-room access and for lobby wi-fi access.

The answer is simple: they do it because they can. Their guests are either on company expense accounts and don’t care, or they are wealthy enough that cost is not an issue. Once you are willing to pay extra for high-end service these hotels are happy to oblige wherever they can.