Hercule Poirot, The Queen Mum & A Tsunami

By | Category: Travel rumblings

There can’t be many people who have been able to link a tsunami, the Queen Mother and a fictional detective all together in one sentence. The link is that this week, all three have had, what people hope will become tourist attractions, opened about them.
Which makes you wonder what is a tourist attraction. The glib answer is that it is anything which attracts people to come and see it. So the loss of thousands of tons of wood off a ship in the English cheannel and which swept up onto south coast beaches a month or so ago was a tourist attraction,- for a few days at least. But surely an attraction should be more permanent? And celebrating something?
These three do. The most tragic and perhaps the least likely to be visited by us is the newly opened museum in Aceh in Indonesia which commemorates the victims of the devastating 2004 tsunami that killed so many hundreds of thousands of people. Ship like in design and standing four stories high when the project is finished (it is open but there are few exhibits as yet) it will be also a monument to nature, how tough it is and how small man is.
The opening of Agatha Christie’s house, Greenway, near Dartmouth in Devon celebrates an author, who 33 years after her death, is still a mainstay of reading, the theatre, (The Mousetrap still runs in London 50 odd years later) and television adaptations. (Miss Marple & Hercule Poirot.) Linking her writing with that famed disappearance in the the 1920’s means that the house should attract many devotees. The gardens have been open for some years, now the house joins them.
The Queen Mother lived for so long (born when Victoria was Queen and died in this century)that there were so many people who were aware of her. The unveiling of a statue to her in the Mall in London will be widely viewed. Public statues and sculpture are something everyone can see for nothing. In vogue during Victorian times, there has been a bit of a revival with the new white horse planned for the Medway, various statues of Nelson Mandela and of course the Angel of the North.
So in the space of a week, we have new attractions celebrating so many diverse things, a tragedy, a literary figure of tremendous achievement and a much loved royal figure.
And that sums up what tourist attractions are.
Anything that celebrates or commemorates our past be they achievements, failures or what has affected us. And the hard nosed would say… and which also brings the punters in!

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