Palmerston North, famously slated by John Cleese as the place to go for people lacking the guts to take their own life, has been given the thumbs down by New Zealanders as a place they'd like to visit one day.
Just 122 Kiwis (0.7 per cent) out of 17,000 surveyed by website Travelbug expressed interest in going to the Manawatu/Wanganui region while Queenstown was favoured as a future domestic destination by 18 per cent.
After his tour of New Zealand in 2005, British comedian Cleese earned the wrath of the Manawatu city when he said: "If you wish to kill yourself but lack the courage to, I think a visit to Palmerston North will do the trick".
"We stayed in a little motel, the weather was grotty, the theatre was a nasty shape and the audience was very strange to play to."
Entertainer John Clarke (aka Fred Dagg), originally from Palmerston North, responded that the landfill should be named the "John Cleese Memorial Tip".
And the city followed up in 2007, erecting an official Mt Cleese sign at the tip.
Of those places New Zealanders had visited and enjoyed, Queenstown (16 per cent), led Coromandel (10 per cent) and Northland (nine per cent).
However, a spokesman for regional tourism body, Vision Manawatu, said Palmerston North and Manawatu were experiencing strong growth.
Retail spending had bucked the national trend and overnight visitor numbers compared very well with other centres - higher than some of those listed as a "more desirable destination", he told NZ Newswire.
"What that confirms is that there are different reasons people have for making travel arrangements. Half of all our overnight visitors are here to visit family, and a further third visit for leisure and recreational purposes."
The region had a terrific landscape for recreation and earlier this year, the Manawatu leg of the New Zealand Cycle Trail was opened and attracted cycling enthusiasts from all over the country, he said.
"As long as people have a reason to visit and enjoy themselves here - we will continue to surprise them."
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