Belizean Media participates in Crisis Management – Tourism Workshop in Guatemala

January 14-15, 2013

Five journalists and writers representing Belize, attended a 2 day seminar in Guatemala City which focused on Crisis Management in the Tourism Industry and Mass Communication. The seminar covered issues that dealt with the role of the media in reporting tourism-centered news and properly managing reporting during times of crisis to minimize the effects on a country’s tourism industry.  Journalists from various Central American countries were also in attendance, as well as representatives of the United Nations World Tourism Organization.

The role of the media is very important to the image of a nation and the way news is delivered truly affects and reflects on its tourism industry. This seminar allowed participants, which were mostly all media and communications personnel, to dialogue about how the media can report on tourism and also be aware on how sensitive it is to report on issues in time of crisis.

Marcelo Risi, Principal Media Officer of the United Nations World Tourism Organization, spoke on the role the media plays in the tourism industry and the reality within the industry when news is presented to the reader.

“Because tourism generally moves based on perception, the industry is very sensitive to media reports.  A rise in criminal activity in Central America has had an impact in tourism but assured measures are being taken by the different governments.  One of the methods used to counter this perception in the media is that while crime is prevalent – it’s not generalized in all countries and all regions within the Central American countries.”

2012 marked a mile stone in tourism worldwide as the count reached one billion tourists who had travelled outside of their country since 1950.  Risi explained that “it’s not just one billion tourists but the opportunities that come along with it.”

Representing Belize at the seminar in Guatemala City were Arturo Cantun of Esterio Amor Radio, Jorge Aldana of the San Pedro Sun, Erin de Santiago Freelance Travel Writer based in Belize and Miguel Martinez, Public Relations Officer at the Belize Tourism Board and Dorian Nuñez of Ambergris Today.

Tourism-Media-Conference-Guatemala

Special Recognition is awarded to the Belize Tourism Industry Association (BTIA) and Belize Tourism Board (BTB), who played an integral role in coordinating the participation of these individuals at the seminar which was organized by SICA (The Central American Integration System).