27th June 2021
12th January 2012 - Tourism minister puts bungee jump reputation on line
As PR practitioners, we’d like to say that there’s little we wouldn’t be prepared to do to help preserve or improve the reputation of our clients.
But we’re not entirely convinced that we’d have the courage shown by Zambia’s tourism minister, Given Lubinda, who helped his country out by doing a PR stunt in the very literal sense of the word.
Mr Lubinda bravely stepped in to take a bungee jump from a bridge crossing Africa’s world-famous Victoria Falls above the crocodile-infested Zambesi River in a bid to repair recent PR damage to his country’s tourism industry.
Only days before, 22-year-old Australian backpacker Erin Langworthy survived a terrifying ordeal when her bungee cord snapped as she jumped from the bridge towering 360 feet above the rapids below.
The ill-fated jump was captured on camera by bungee staff, who filmed the event as part of a complementary DVD souvenir service. It was subsequently posted to YouTube and became an online sensation, eventually leading to worldwide media coverage.
Ms Langworthy managed to swim to shore and was later treated in hospital for cuts, bruises and a broken collarbone.
The travel company that organised the jump then promptly launched an investigation and replaced all ropes and elastics.
However, the widely publicised incident had clearly done serious damage to the reputation of the attraction and to Zambia’s tourism industry as a whole.
So we’d have to agree 100% with Zambia’s tourism minister that by putting your own neck on the line and taking the jump yourself you are sending out precisely the right message and telling the world that you have every confidence in the facility.
But we would go along with Lubinda wouldn’t we? After all, we only advise our clients and don’t have to perform such daring stunts ourselves.
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