A report from the Rolla Daily News about a group of 39 motorcycle riders from Uruguay stopping in Rolla, Mo., during a two-week tour of Route 66 contained a somewhat of a same-old-same-old whiff about it.
But when you examine the story closely, this tour is a bit different.
First, the tour is coordinated by the U.S. Department of Commerce. Two workers at the U.S. Embassy in Uruguay came up with the Route 66 tour idea.
So the old Mother Road has a bit of Uncle Sam in its corner for this trip. The Uruguay riders can be followed at this site.
But the most significant part of the story is this:
Also traveling with the group is Sebastián Beltrame and his film crew who will produce a travel series which will tell stories about the route and the places visited, as well as the experiences of both travelers and locals.
This film has the support of the Ministry of Education and Culture of Uruguay and will be aired on national television by 163 cable channels, the Uruguayan television network and 22 over-the-air channels, including the channels that belong to the main cities in the countryside.
When this film airs, don’t be surprised to see a subsequent flock of Uruguayans traveling the Mother Road. Showcasing Route 66 on a nation’s television networks often produces a tourism surge later. Route 66 businesses who saw all the Britons after “Billy Connolly’s Route 66” series in 2011 will attest.
A Uruguayan invasion probably won’t be as pronounced as the UK’s. After all, Uruguay is a nation of 3.3 million people, versus England’s 63 million.
But unlike many South American countries, Uruguay’s economy has become relatively prosperous in recent years. So its prospects for sending over a lot of tourists are high.