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Travel journalist Sally McKinney keynote speaker

Highly respected travel journalist Sally McKinney, who hails from the USA, is one of the keynote speakers at the Conference on Sustainable Tourism to be held in the Bay of Islands from 29 to 31 October.

She sees a bright future for Northland’s economy with its focus on tourism – especially ecotourism. “According to the World Tourism Organization, the number of international tourists has grown to 698 million a year,” she said. “And an estimated two-thirds of these people are leisure travelers.”

Sally said that the Travel Industry Association of America conducted a study of tourists in 1997 and found that 83% of the public supported green travel services.

“According to the International Ecotourism Society, ecotourism is ‘responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and sustains the well-being of local people,” she says. “Their research indicates the typical eco-tourist is between 35 and 54 years old, a college graduate, plans to travel with a spouse or companion, and expects to spend between $US1000-1500 each time they travel.”

Sally herself has travelled on dozens of eco-tours in the US and British Virgin Islands, Ecuador, Brazil, Costa Rica, Panama, Togo, Thailand, and Malaysia to name a few. But she treasures the time she has spent here researching her book ‘author of "Adventures in Nature: New Zealand"

“I’ll be weaving experiences from all around the world into both of my presentations,” she said from her home in Indiana.

She believes that those tourism businesses wanting a bigger slice of the market will gain a wealth of ideas from her presentations, the first of which is ‘What Overseas Visitors Want in an Ecotour’.

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“I’m looking at the subject, you see, in the same way that leisure tourists would contemplate a visit to clean, green New Zealand.”

Sally’s other presentation is ‘How to Promote your Ecotour’ for which she has gathered up some excellent examples and ideas internationally – promotions that have been successful and some that have not. Further information about the conference can be obtained from the website http://ernz.org

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