By Tim Saunders on
Phil Keoghan – host of The Amazing Race – is currently in New Zealand in an effort to raise worldwide awareness of the country’s recent devastating earthquake.
The death toll from last week’s 6.3 earthquake is expected to reach 240, and Keoghan is in Christchurch – where he grew up – to accurately convey the disaster to Americans.
“What we have to be very careful of is that overseas doesn’t think that all of New Zealand has fallen down,” he said. "The message that I’ve been trying to communicate is that the doors for tourism in New Zealand are open. If you’ve got trips planned to New Zealand, don’t cancel them, make sure you take that trip because that’s the best way you can support us.
“We can’t have people think that somehow they can’t come and be a tourist. Tourism is 9% of the GDP, it makes up $15 billion of our income. If estimates are right and we’ve lost $15 billion from this earthquake, we can’t take another hit of another $15 billion from tourists not coming to New Zealand.”
Keoghan has also filmed PSAs urging people in the US to donate to the New Zealand Red Cross.
“I was actually here six months ago shooting commercials up on the Port Hills, all through the city. I love this city, I love New Zealand,” he said. “What really makes a place is the people, and what I’ve seen here is tremendous strength. People have been knocked down, but they’re refusing to stay down.”
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