You have to feel for Sandra Chipchase. Just appointed CEO of the new tourism body Destination NSW, she bustles over the border from Victoria with an enthusiastic plea to all New South Welsh residents to start talking up the delights their state has to offer. We can all be tourism ambassadors in our own little ways, she says.
Instead of a chorus of ‘Hear, hear, great idea Sandra!’ she gets howls of derision as everybody with a grievance takes the opportunity to tell the world why NSW is buggered. Our transport system is a joke, our service sucks, our people are unfriendly, Sydney is unaffordable and…get this one…there are too many tourists clogging the place up.
It was a predictable reaction. Whenever Americans trumpet that they’re ‘the greatest nation on the planet’ we’re quick to sneer, ‘What about Guantanamo Bay, Hurricane Katrina, the prime lending debacle and The Bachelorette?’
British Columbians have reacted with similar scorn to their province’s latest bumper sticker slogan ‘THE BEST PLACE ON EARTH’.
Diffidence is an attractive characteristic that we share with the Canadians. We want to be liked and praised, and deep down we think we’re pretty damn good, but we find it unseemly to go around the place skiting about how great we are.
Nevertheless, just this once I’ll try to help Sandra out, by highlighting a few unique New South Wales treasures. She can deliver my ambassador’s badge (with free travel pass, accommodation and entry permits) any time!
And I don’t have images for these places, but if we’re looking for interesting country towns in New South Wales, how about Broken Hill, Tamworth (well, perhaps only during the Country Music Festival), Bathurst, Orange and Cowra?
Any suggestions for expanding my list, people?