Seeing a country with the most high-ranking tour guide

Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan, right, appears with journalist Peter Greenberg as they begin their trek up Mt. Kilimanjaro for the television show “The Royal Tour.” Greenberg is resuming the series that shows off the best tourist spots of a country and features the nation’s leader as the tour guide. (Karen Ballard via AP)

Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan, ideal, appears with journalist Peter Greenberg as they begin their trek up Mt. Kilimanjaro for the television show “The Royal Tour.” Greenberg is resuming the collection that demonstrates off the best vacationer spots of a country and characteristics the nation’s leader as the tour guideline. (Karen Ballard by means of AP)


With one particular notable exception, Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan appeared to get pleasure from guiding American journalist Peter Greenberg about her nation for the television show “The Royal Tour.”

The time expended recording voiceovers she could have accomplished with out.

“You tortured me!” the African chief needled Greenberg at a New York screening of the display, which is airing on PBS stations this spring.

“The Royal Tour,” a periodic characteristic on PBS for additional than two decades, is just as the name indicates. The veteran journey journalist, and by extension his viewers, are revealed a nation’s details of curiosity by the country’s leader. Mexico, Israel, Ecuador, Rwanda and Poland have all been highlighted in the previous decade.

“It’s the one particular clearly show where I’m not the tour guide,” Greenberg explained in an interview. “I’m the visitor. And it really is the one particular wherever I’m content to be that way, due to the fact who knows a nation superior than the person who operates it?”

Tanzania is the initial royal tour considering that the begin of the pandemic, which briefly grounded Greenberg and was a key component in Hassan having her occupation.

When the shutdown commenced, “I was in a bunker, like anyone else,” stated Greenberg, who is at the middle of his individual empire as vacation editor of CBS News. He hosts the normal system “Eye on Travel” for CBS Radio and “The Journey Detective” on PBS.

His bunker was in Manhattan. Restless, he commenced rediscovering his neighborhood like a traveler, spotting one bronze plaque that honored a New Yorker who died on the Titanic.

At some point, he realized it was his position to get back again out there, to convey to folks how they could travel securely and navigate area COVID-19 rules. Other than acquiring COVID, his followers had been most nervous about touring someplace and not remaining equipped to get back again, he reported.

So Greenberg went by means of the maze of paperwork and testing to illustrate how it could be performed.

“In one particular country I experienced to be examined five situations,” he stated. “I assumed my nose was likely to slide off.”

In Tanzania, Hassan was vice president to John Magufuli, a COVID denier who declared in 2020 that his region was absolutely free of the virus due to divine intervention. He died in March 2021 at age 61 and even though it was by no means formally confirmed, it is extensively believed he died of the coronavirus.

Hassan took in excess of, and pointedly went just before cameras to be vaccinated.

Hassan’s royal tour system unfolds like most of them. Greenberg offers a short historical sketch of a country and illustrates wherever it is positioned, and is proven arriving at the leader’s official home for an interview. Then, they take in the sights.

In Tanzania, they wandered about a marketplace and toured a key college in Zanzibar, surveyed the majestic Mount Kilimanjaro from the air, observed mining of the exceptional Tanzanite gemstone and went on a safari in the Serengeti Nationwide Park. Hassan obtained powering the wheel, driving for what she reported was the initial time in 15 a long time.

“The Royal Tour” is generally filmed as if Greenberg and the leader are getting in close to-vacant tourist web sites on your own, but self-conscious producers occasionally pull the cameras back again. In Israel, it appears to be like like Greenberg is having a boat experience down the River Jordan just with then-Primary Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his family members, right until a further watch reveals them surrounded by other boats stuffed with aides, a stability depth and the press.

The Israeli tour that aired in 2014 started with Netanyahu and Greenberg participating in soccer with regional youngsters, right up until the primary minister tore a tendon and taping experienced to be delayed for several months.

Hassan also had a much more sobering prevent, a large govt warehouse stuffed with ivory confiscated from poachers, which permitted her to chat about the unlawful trade that has decimated the elephant inhabitants.

Likewise, when Greenberg visited Poland for a 2019 application, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki took him on an psychological stroll by the museum on the grounds of the former Auschwitz concentration camp from Planet War II.

To take part in “The Royal Tour,” Greenberg requirements a chief who is comfy talking English, is ready to give up at least a day for filming and who cedes all editorial handle — the latter requirement one particular that some probable contributors chafe in opposition to.

“When I was performing it, I never ever realized it would arrive out like this,” Hassan claimed in New York soon after viewing the episode on her place for the initially time.

Although not automatically valentines, “The Royal Tour” does supply nations that want to strengthen their tourism a exclusive possibility to exhibit off their capabilities to tens of millions of probable tourists.

Hassan plainly identified this when an viewers member at the screening requested her the finest time of 12 months to program a take a look at.

June or July, she explained. But will not limit by yourself.

“You can come whenever,” she reported. “We can quit the rains for you.”