Usually we meet or approach the average tourist in their natural habitat somewhere by the pool or meandering around the markets.
But you could say the opposite happened with Turkish Professor Orhan Kural who hunted the Samoa Observer down to tell us his Dear Tourist Story.
We found him causing a stir at Samoa Observer headquarters insisting that we hear his story out.
Professor Orhan Kural is head of the Mining Engineering Department of the Instanbul Technical University in Turkey and the President of the Turkish Travellers Club and he was very excited to be here in Samoa after a very long and eventful journey,
“We came here because one of my friends came to Samoa many years ago, he worked here. He wrote a book about Samoa. This is a country I have not seen yet and I have been to Fiji and Solomon Islands , I was very curious about Samoa and my friend mentioned about Samoa in his book and he mentioned that this was like a paradise, it is supreme in the ocean - but if you want to come to paradise you must travel the distance but it’s worth it. It’s not easy to travel here. We left Istanbul on Monday night to make our way here…it is now Thursday and we just arrived on Wednesday.”
In Turkey, Dr Kural tried to find anything and everything about Samoa that he could get his hands on. He found there was a lack of information about the Pacific Islands and in particular Samoa which has led him here to document his travels on film so that he can share with the people in his country.
“ I think you need a consulate in Instanbul to promote Samoa because people don’t know, they cant get any knowledge about where Samoa is. “
Prof. is excited about filming Samoa while he is here. He talked about how being the President of the Turkish Travelers club, he has some insight on what Turkish people are looking for in a travel experience and that these days, Turkish travelers are looking beyond the usual hotspots like the UK or North America and are curiously looking to the Pacific to explore.
“People will be so enthusiastic about coming to Samoa because it is so different from the popular destinations. Samoa is something different, they don’t want to go to London or New York always or go to the seaside and lie there like a crocodile and eat and sleep. Here in Samoa, people are very friendly, they are smiling unlike in North America people are always busy buying something, why do they buy so many things?”
The Professor is a host of a T. V Show and he talks a lot about the environment and tourism but one of his passions is organizing conferences that center on the need for countries to protect their culture and their environment and he has managed to coordinate with a local high school to speak at their assembly.
So far he has found Samoa to be fascinating and beautiful with its rich culture and striking landscapes,
“In Samoa, we saw the open areas here, all around there are churches in these small communities. We saw a chief’s funeral and we saw how they respected him and all waited for him to arrive, this is something very traditional and it was very interesting”
Professor Kural was very adamant that the crocodiles that just eat and sleep should stay clear of our beautiful shores and assures us the “new tourist” wants to experience Samoa on a deeper level he explained.
“The ones who want to come here are not the ones that are polluting like the ones that go to Hawaii. The ones from Turkey who will travel the distance will come to share by getting to know the people and enjoying the nature - and this is how peace is made. If you know something or someone better you cannot hate them and there will not be war. “