Uma and I have had an interesting couple of weeks. You see, we both love sharing our culture and experiences while learning from the others. That way, we are teachers, as well as learners.
When our best friend Wendy asked Uma to organise a South Indian style Valaikappu (baby shower) for a mutual friend, she was over the moon. She immediately connected with other mutual friends, planned every detail with them and coordinated all arrangements. On Saturday the 4th July, the celebration turned out to be such a joyous occasion for all. Uma was at hand to explain the rituals to our Kiwi friends Wendy and Sally. She also had the opportunity to learn the Kiwi way of celebrating baby shower through Sally.
For me, it was a bit different. I was asked by Dana Taylor from IPU New Zealand, a tertiary institution in Palmerston North, if I can deliver a guest lecture for a group of Tourism students. What a great time for the students of Tourism to hear from a practitioner under the current COVID-19 climate! I gladly accepted the invitation, since I have a longstanding relationship with IPU - I have been personally running New Zealand tours for their visiting International student groups.
I spoke about where it all began for us at Take Me 2 The World, where we are now surviving COVID-19 and what is our strategy for the path forward. When the Coronavirus disaster stuck without warning, we needed a lifeboat immediately. We used all possible resources under our command - the Government wage subsidy, MBIE funded COVID-19 Business Continuity Planning business coaching, Tourism New Zealand funded strategy consultation with KPMG, attending Industry webinars keeping us abreast of developments, participating actively in formal & informal support groups and finally keeping ourselves physically & mentally well.
Then I spoke about our next step, which is to look at surviving until the borders open. Here is where we exercised our imagination and creativity to design our "Slice of the World in New Zealand" series tours. We created these tours for discerning travellers who want to indulge in unique and authentic International cultural experience by making the entire trip stress-free and without the need to leave New Zealand. Before we talk about our strategy for the post-COVID world, let us take a quick look at some of these tours.
A Slice of India in Queenstown is a tour for active and curious travellers, who want to have enriched cultural experience enjoyed as a group of likeminded people. Our guests join Uma and Nats in Queenstown to intimately understand the scintillating millennia-old Indian culture. They would learn to cook Indian food with Uma. She would be their main chef preparing a delicious Indian dinner at The Rees boutique luxury Hotel. They then participate in the Bollywood dance class, shaking their legs at the party. While they are busy having a time of their lives, they enjoy the best of both worlds with some top activities that Queenstown has to offer.
For the discerning traveller who wants to indulge in authentic cultural experiences, the Slice of Latin America in Queenstown tour is a perfect fit. We have taken care of minute details of the tour to make it stress-free, while creating a memorable Latin American cultural experience. Our guests would feel pampered with the personalised service from the Mexican-born, New Zealand-resident Tour Leader Tere Morales-Probert. Columbian-born Erika and Francisco will mix them Latin American cocktails, while they sample a variety of Tapas-style canapes. Then the tour party joins them for a colourful Latin American dance extravaganza with a selection of music. And they round it off with a dinner of Latin American flavours.
Our exciting Slice of France in Taupo tour is for those who wish to spend quality time with loved ones. Plenty of fun activities are designed to be enjoyed together. The group plays fun-filled games of Pétanque and Chaise Musicale with the French Sommelier Francis Auclert, the Wine Knight. They go on to sample six types of French wines and pair them with a French dinner at the luxurious Hilton Lake Taupo. Our passionate and experienced Tour Leader Colin will provide a lot of insight into the French culture, having lived in and immersed culturally in France.
Further more, we are launching the Slice of Latin America in Auckland and Bay of Islands very soon. Our plan is to design and run 9 to 12 tours. If our Kiwi travellers support us by going on these tours, that would take care of us until the borders open. Then our long-term strategy for thriving would kick in once some semblance of sanity returns to the world! See you soon in my next blog post. Au revoir!