See a country with the highest ranking tour guide | health
By DAVID BAUDER – AP Media Writer
NEW YORK (AP) – With one notable exception, Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan seemed to enjoy guiding American journalist Peter Greenberg around her country for the television show “The Royal Tour.”
She could have done without the time she spent recording voiceovers.
“You tortured me!” the African leader needled Greenberg at a New York screening of the show, which will air on PBS networks this spring.
“The Royal Tour,” a regular feature on PBS for more than two decades, is exactly what the name suggests. The head of state shows the experienced travel journalist and thus also his viewers the sights of a nation. Mexico, Israel, Ecuador, Rwanda and Poland have all been represented in the last ten years.
“This is the only show where I’m not the tour guide,” Greenberg said in an interview. “I am the visitor. And that’s where I like to be, because who knows a country better than the person who leads it?”
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Tanzania is the first royal tour since the pandemic began, which briefly kept Greenberg grounded and was a key factor in Hassan getting her job.
When the shutdown began, “I was in a bunker like everyone else,” said Greenberg, who as CBS News’ travel editor is at the center of his own empire. He hosts the regular show “Eye on Travel” for CBS Radio and “The Travel Detective” on PBS.
His bunker was in Manhattan. Restless, he began to rediscover his neighborhood like a traveler and discovered a bronze plaque honoring a New Yorker who died on the Titanic.
Eventually, he realized his job was to get back outside, tell people how to travel safely and comply with local COVID-19 regulations. Aside from getting COVID, what worries his followers the most is going somewhere and not being able to come back, he said.
So Greenberg went through the maze of paperwork and testing to illustrate how it could be done.
“In one country I had to get tested five times,” he said. “I thought my nose was going to fall off.”
In Tanzania, Hassan served as vice president to John Magufuli, a COVID denier who announced in 2020 that his country was free of the virus by divine intervention. He died in March 2021 aged 61 and although it has never been officially confirmed, it is widely believed that he died from the coronavirus.
Hassan took overand went demonstratively in front of cameras to get vaccinated.
Hassan’s royal touring schedule is like most of them. Greenberg gives a brief historical sketch of a country and illustrates where it is located, and is shown arriving at the official residence of the leader for an interview. Then they take in the sights.
In Tanzania, they strolled through a marketplace and toured a primary school in Zanzibar, gazed at majestic Kilimanjaro from the air, saw the rare tanzanite gemstone quarried and went on a safari in Serengeti National Park. Hassan got behind the wheel and, as she said, was driving for the first time in 15 years.
“The Royal Tour” is often filmed as if Greenberg and the leader were filming near-empty tourist attractions alone, but confident producers sometimes pull the cameras back. In Israel, it appears Greenberg is taking a boat trip down the Jordan River with only then-Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his family, until another view shows them surrounded by other boats filled with aid workers, a security detail, and the press.
The Israel tour, which aired in 2014, began with Netanyahu and Greenberg playing soccer with local children until the prime minister arrived torn a tendon and the recording had to be postponed for several months.
Hassan also had a more sobering stop, a huge government Stock filled with ivory confiscated from poachers, allowing her to speak out about the illegal trade that has decimated the elephant population.
When Greenberg visited Poland for a program in 2019, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki took him on an emotional walk through the museum on the site of the former WWII concentration camp Auschwitz.
To take part in “The Royal Tour,” Greenberg needs a director who speaks English, is willing to devote at least a day to filming, and who will hand over all editorial control — the latter requirement some potential attendees balk at.
“When I did it, I never thought it would turn out like this,” Hassan said in New York after first watching the episode about her country.
While not strictly Valentine’s Day, The Royal Tour offers countries looking to boost tourism a unique opportunity to showcase their specialties to millions of potential travelers.
Hassan saw this clearly when a viewer at the screening asked her when was the best time of year to visit.
June or July, she said. But don’t limit yourself.
“You can come anytime,” she says. “We can stop the rain for you.”
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