NEW YORK – With one notable exception, Tanzanian President Sami Suluha Hassan seemed to enjoy guiding American journalist Peter Greenberg around his country during the Royal Tour.
The time spent recording the soundtrack could have cost her.
“You tortured me!” African leader Needles Greenberg at the New York screening of the show, which airs on PBS stations this spring.
“The Royal Tour,” a periodical article on PBS for more than two decades, is exactly as the title suggests. To the veteran journalist and his audience, the head of state shows the country’s sights. Mexico, Israel, Ecuador, Rwanda and Poland have been represented over the past decade.
“It’s the only show where I’m not a guide,” Greenberg said in an interview. “I am a guest. And this is the one where I am happy to be like that, because who knows the country better than the one who runs it? ”
Tanzania is the first royal tour since the beginning of the pandemic, which briefly grounded Greenberg and became a key factor in the fact that Hassan got a job.
When the shutdown began, “I was in the bunker, like everyone else,” said Greenberg, who is at the center of his own empire as a travel editor for CBS News. He hosts the regular program “Eye of Travel” on CBS radio and “The Travel Detective” on PBS.
His bunker was in Manhattan. Anxious, he began to rediscover his area as a traveler, noticing one bronze plaque honoring a New Yorker who perished on the Titanic.
Eventually, he realized that his job was to go back there, to tell people how they could travel safely and navigate the local COVID-19 regulations. In addition to getting COVID, his followers were most worried that they would go somewhere and could not return, he said.
So Greenberg went through a maze of documents and tests to illustrate how this can be done.
“I had to be tested five times in one country,” he said. “I thought my nose would fall off.”
In Tanzania, Hassan was the vice president of John Magufuli, who denies COVID, which announced in 2020 that his country was free of the virus thanks to God’s intervention. He died in March 2021 at the age of 61, and although this has never been officially confirmed, it is believed that he died of coronavirus.
Hassan took office and demonstratively went to the cells to get vaccinated.
Hassan’s royal tour program is unfolding, as are most of them. Greenberg gives a brief historical sketch of the country and shows where it is located, and shows how he arrives at the official residence of the leader for an interview. Then they look around the sights.
In Tanzania, they wandered around the market and visited a primary school in Zanzibar, explored the majestic Mount Kilimanjaro from the air, saw the extraction of a rare Tanzanite gemstone and went on a safari to the Serengeti National Park. Hassan got behind the wheel, guided, she said, for the first time in 15 years.
The “Royal Tour” is often filmed as if Greenberg and his leader alone are dealing with almost empty tourist sites, but self-aware producers sometimes distract the cameras. In Israel, it appears that Greenberg is boating on the Jordan River only with then-Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his family, until another species shows them surrounded by other boats crammed with aides, security officials and the press.
The Israeli tour, which aired in 2014, began with Netanyahu and Greenberg playing football with local children until the prime minister tore a tendon and the recording had to be postponed for several months.
Hassan also had a more sober stop, a huge state of ivory stuff confiscated from poachers, which allowed her to talk about the illegal trade that wiped out the elephant population.
Similarly, when Greenberg visited Poland to participate in the program in 2019, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki took him on an emotional walk through the museum on the site of the former Auschwitz concentration camp during World War II.
To take part in The Royal Tour, Greenberg needs a leader who speaks good English, is willing to give at least a day to film and gives up all editorial control – the last requirement, which is opposed by some potential participants.
“When I did that, I never knew it would turn out that way,” Hassan said in New York City after watching the episode about her country for the first time.
Although the “Royal Tour” is not necessarily a Valentine’s Day holiday, it offers countries wishing to boost tourism a unique opportunity to showcase their features to millions of potential travelers.
Hassan was clearly aware of this when viewers at the session asked at her best time of year to plan a visit.
In June or July, she said. But don’t limit yourself.
“You can come at any time,” she said. “We can stop the rains for you.”
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