Creative tourism? Yes. Irresistible? Not so much . . .

27 Jun

Creativity and innovation in the nonprofit sector are common themes in my business and in the write to know blog. Recently, I’ve featured New Zealand as a hotbed of rural tourism development innovation.  Last night, I came across one of the most creative tourism ideas I’ve seen, and it’s in an altogether different place. Located in the Philippines, it fits several of the five mindsets for tourism business innovation that I’ve previously described.

Here’s the concept. Three hours outside Manila in Bataan, travelers can visit the remote and pristine Pawikan turtle sanctuary, and then tour deep into the concrete labyrinth of a shuttered nuclear plant.  Or, they can just relax above ground with a barbecue on the atomic site’s private beach on the South China Sea. There’s even a guesthouse for overnight visitors in the facility’s former environmental monitoring station

The nuclear plant was constructed nearly 30 years ago, but it has never operated, and it costs taxpayers today more than $10,000/day to maintain. Napacor, the state-owned utility that manages the site, hopes to both generate needed revenue and turn the tide of public opinion back toward nuclear energy as a safe option for the future.

Greenpeace International doesn’t disagree with the promotion of the dual adventure as an “eco-tourism” experience. Manila-based Greenpeace organizer Francis Dela Cruz “supports the decision to finally turn the (facility) into something more practical: a monument to remind people of the inherent dangers of nuclear power.”

“Creative” is new and different. “Innovative” is valuable, and that’s often measured in economic return. So is the Bataan adventure “creative”, or “innovative”, or both? Both sides agree that for some people, the opportunity to post a self-portrait from deep inside a nuclear plant will be irresistible. Will those same people want to see turtles in the wild? If the market potential proves to be real, then the turtle/nuclear plant tour may prove to be a real business innovation.  Until then, it’s a creative idea. Wacky, perhaps, but definitely creative!

Here’s more information on this story if you’d like to plan a trip!