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New book on the history of mountain tourism

New book on the history of mountain tourism unveiled ahead of Tourism Summit Aotearoa

In the same week that the ‘Tiaki Promise’ initiative launched, author Peter Alsop spoke to industry leaders ahead of Thursday’s Tourism Summit Aotearoa about how his new book Scenic Playground could help inspire the concept of guardianship behind the Tiaki call.

“By learning more about our mountain tourism history, we better understand the legacy we’ve inherited, and the responsibility we hold to enhance that legacy for those who come next,” he told the audience.

“From the first explorers, to the first climbers, the first ascents, to the first mountain-access roads and the first hotels, Scenic Playground is unequivocally a book of mountain dreams. Buoyed by those dreams that we know as reality, the book encourages us to dream of what comes next.”

The handsome 416-page hardback is lavishly illustrated with historic hand-coloured photographs, paintings, advertisements and posters from the 1890s onwards, many of them from Alsop’s personal collection. It is a collaboration between Alsop, independent tourism advisor Dave Bamford and university lecturer Lee Davidson.

Scenic Playground explores how the country built its tourism reputation as an alpine destination and, alongside, how mountains became central to a sense of belonging to Aotearoa.

In her foreword to the book, the Rt Hon Helen Clark, who is an avid mountain walker, echoes Alsop’s sentiments. “This book reminds us of the splendid mountain heritage of our country, and of the great lengths to which so many people have gone to promote its beauty for all to enjoy. It’s a legacy we must protect and, in new ways, enhance as part of the mountain journey ahead.”

Tourism Industry Aotearoa CEO Chris Roberts has warmly welcomed the book, saying "It captures in glorious detail the history of the tourism relationship with our mountains.”

Scenic Playground: The Story Behind New Zealand’s Mountain Tourism goes on sale on November 12.

PETER ALSOP is a senior executive who has worked across the public and private sectors. He is a keen collector of New Zealand art, with particular interests in tourism publicity, hand-coloured photography and mid-century New Zealand landscape paintings. He is the author and co-author of five previous books.
DAVE BAMFORD is now an independent tourism advisor who has worked extensively in New Zealand on regional tourism strategies, business plans and national park recreational opportunities.
LEE DAVIDSON teaches in the Museum and Heritage Studies programme at Victoria University of Wellington.

Scenic Playground: The Story Behind New Zealand’s Mountain Tourism
By Peter Alsop, Dave Bamford and Lee Davidson
Published by Te Papa Press
$80, hardback

© Scoop Media

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