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Author Topic: Developing Nikumaroro as an Earhart themed micro-tourism site  (Read 1371 times)

Matt Revington

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Developing Nikumaroro as an Earhart themed micro-tourism site
« on: October 23, 2019, 06:25:53 AM »

It's still just speculation and it sounds like Kiribati is trying to wait until the evidence is "conclusive" in their eyes

https://www.eturbonews.com/343760/the-republic-of-kiribati-a-new-untouched-tourism-potential-1800-miles-from-hawaii/
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Developing Nikumaroro as an Earhart themed micro-tourism site
« Reply #1 on: October 23, 2019, 08:38:33 AM »

In 2015, and again in 2017, Betchart Expeditions showed that you can make money taking people to Niku for $10K per ticket and Kiribati gets a healthy cut anytime an expedition goes to Niku.

National Geographic Partners is owned by Disney.  "Right this way to the Ren tree where Amelia died."
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Andrew M McKenna

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Re: Developing Nikumaroro as an Earhart themed micro-tourism site
« Reply #2 on: October 23, 2019, 10:02:53 AM »

This seems to be a goal for some of the folks in Tarawa, but certainly a difficult one to achieve. 

It is unclear how profitable the trips in 2015 and 2017 really were.  Betchart told me that despite the large ticket price and the number of people going, it was very hard to make much margin, particularly after factoring in the months of planning and logistical work it took to get the 2017 expedition launched.  She said that other more profitable trips essentially allowed her the ability to do more difficult trips such at the NIku expeditions.  The boat charter company involved in 2017 was asked to quote on a subsequent trip, and raised their prices by something like 30%, so going forward the price is going to be even steeper.  Makes for a shrinking market of candidates. 

In addition, the permitting process with Kiribati has become so cumbersome and expensive that those involved are not eager to re-engage -  as in "I am never doing that again!!".  It literally took months of work, much of it on the ground in Tarawa, to obtain the permits needed, some of which did not arrive until the last minute, long after the ships had been paid for.  That kind of risk is not what tour operators like to work with. 

On top of all that, the biosecurity protocols we were asked to adhere to were beyond what most tours have to deal with.  We were required to spray all our clothing and equipment with permethrin insecticide, spray and then pack our permethrin laced day bags in sealed bags 2 hours before going ashore at 6:30 am - in other words we were supposed to spray and seal our bags at 4:30 am, spay the launches in permethrin daily, walk through a permethrin bath in our shoes on the way to and from the island, spray the coolers our lunches were packed in, etc.   Permethrin, by the way, is extremely toxic to fish, but the PIPA folks are far more worried about invasive insects arriving than killing some fish.  I can't say that these protocols were religiously adhered to throughout the entire expedition, but there was probably enough permethrin aboard the boat to kill all the roaches in NYC.  Not exactly the kind of thing most tours offer, but certainly an added bonus!!

So, is it possible for Kiribati to develop some tourism, but I think it will be difficult given the logistical nightmare that trying to get to the Phoenix Islands has become.  To keep PIPA pristine, and free of invasive insects, these are the things that are needed, but they certainly will be difficult for any tourism industry to deal with.

I think even Disney will find it unproductive to try to run tours out there.

My 2¢

Andrew

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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Developing Nikumaroro as an Earhart themed micro-tourism site
« Reply #3 on: October 23, 2019, 10:31:54 AM »

Thanks Andrew.  I think that's a good assessment.  Kiribati has come to see Niku as a cash cow, but they're over-milking it.
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Christian Stock

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Re: Developing Nikumaroro as an Earhart themed micro-tourism site
« Reply #4 on: October 23, 2019, 02:27:33 PM »

I wonder how the Marshall Islands would handle such tourism.

“Over here is where Amelia and Fred were shot by the firing squad, and over there is the place where Amelia died of dysentery, and over there is where she crash landed and was executed, and we are just a few minutes flight form the other island where she landed and was executed, first in 1937, then again near the end of the war, and all of the Lockheed Electras were burned and strafed at that airfield.”

Endless possibilities.
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Developing Nikumaroro as an Earhart themed micro-tourism site
« Reply #5 on: October 23, 2019, 02:50:08 PM »

I wonder how the Marshall Islands would handle such tourism.

They've been doing it for years.  I have the T-shirt. They even printed a series of postage stamps depicting her capture.
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Jeff Lange

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Re: Developing Nikumaroro as an Earhart themed micro-tourism site
« Reply #6 on: October 23, 2019, 06:33:20 PM »

I saw and read it on the internet, so it MUST have been true! Right? Hello????   ;) ;) :D
Jeff Lange

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