Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Sunday (Maroochydore, Australia)

What's in a Name? Spin Doctors Have Turned Some of the Planet's Most Remote Tourist Destinations into Household Names, Says David Ellis

Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Sunday (Maroochydore, Australia)

What's in a Name? Spin Doctors Have Turned Some of the Planet's Most Remote Tourist Destinations into Household Names, Says David Ellis

Article excerpt

WHERE would we be without the ubiquitous marketing men and women of this world?

To say you've surfed Ehukai Beach on the north shore of Hawaii's Oahu island doesn't sound nearly as exciting as boasting you've survived a tube on the Banzai Pipeline a even though Ehukai a it means a[approximately]sea spray a and Banzai are one and the same.

And what about Vanuatu? When the iconic cruise-liner Fairstar started visiting out-of-the way destinations in the 1970s, one of her stop-overs was a tiny, unoccupied island called Inyeug in the far south.

The name Inyeug had little appeal to cruise lovers, so the ship's PR man at the time, Ron Connelly renamed it Mystery Island. Now, it's one of the best-known mysteries in the South Pacific.

So it was when travel wholesalers started selling guided tours of Europe in the 1950s and wanted a catchy phrase to describe a 350km stretch of road that wound its way through the centre of Germany.

It stretched from WA1/4rtzburg on the River Main down to FA1/4ssen on the Swiss border. FA1/4ssen is where Mad King Leopold's Neuschwanstein castle is located, the one that inspired Sleeping Beauty Castle in California's Disneyland in Anaheim.

Drawing on the beauty of the towns and villages through which it passed, the travel experts dubbed the road the Romantischer Strasse (Romantic Road).

It caught on instantly and tourism quickly boomed, especially in what is arguably the most beautiful of all the settlements, Rothenburg ob der Tauber (Red town overlooking the Tauber River).

Before the coining of the name Romantic Road, Rothenburg still had a country air about it, with the occasional cow or sheep wandering along its cobbled alleyways.

Not today. Although the buildings in the walled township still look like something out of a mediaeval fairytale, the majority of them have been turned into mini-museums, hotels and gift shops.

And it's probably one of the few places in the world boasting stores that sell nothing but Christmas decorations the whole year round, and which follows-on from the fame of the town's Christmas market (Christkindelmarkt).

People who couldn't make it to Rothenburg in December to wander through the market while sipping gluhwein, the hot spiced red wine that the Germans drink in the lead-up to Christmas, felt cheated. …

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