US travel writers impressed by Marlborough

November 7, 2011 By SATW 

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One of the most endearing features of Marlborough is the band of enthusiastic entrepeneurs who run the tourism businesses, an American newspaper travel writer says.

Ann Witmer is a travel writer for the Harrisburg Patriot News, a daily newspaper in Pennsylvania, United States.

Ms Witmer and her husband Herb were two of the 19-strong group of travel writers and spouses who explored Marlborough during the past three days.

The writers are in New Zealand for the Society of American Travel Writers annual convention, which starts today in Wellington.

Ms Witmer was impressed most by the hospitality and passion of the Marlborough business owners she had met.

“The people who run the boats and run the lodges, they are just amazingly enthusiastic, hopeful people who are willing to work hard and make something out of their business. Every day we’ve met about three or four of those people.”

Destination Marlborough hosted the writers in Marlborough and showed them the Marlborough Sounds, the vineyards and the food producers.

Yesterday, the group had lunch at Wairau River Wines and were heading to the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre before their flight to Wellington for the convention welcoming dinner in Wellington tonight.

USA Today travel writer Jayne Clark said Marlborough wine had become a well-known brand in the US duriong the past decade.

There were Marlborough sections in wine shops and Marlborough wine was sold at many grocery stores, she said.

“The name is becoming very familiar to a lot of American wine drinkers, especially sauvignon blanc drinkers.”

It was Ms Clark’s second visit to New Zealand and her first visit to Marlborough, which had been enjoyable, she said.

“It’s a wonderful combination of good food, nice people and unexpected surprises … Lochmara [Lodge] is just a singular place; I loved just every bit of it.”

She liked the art work on the grounds, particularly the warning about climbing dodgey corporate ladders.

The convention in Wellington has attracted 450 delgates and a quarter of them will be hosted in Marlborough either before or after the five-day convention.

Destination Marlborough general manager Tracy Johnston said the visits had been 12 months in the planning and be a good boost Marlborough as a tourist destination.

“It’s a very busy week, we’re doing what we would do in a whole year’s worth of media hosting.”

- The Marlborough Express 

Society Of American Travel Writers

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