Counterpart launches Caribbean communications workshops

Counterpart International, producers of the Caribbean Media Exchange on Sustainable Tourism (CMEx), is launching a new series of communications workshops for Caribbean media professionals, the travel and tourism industry and the public and private sector.
The Washington-based non-profit organisation this week unveiled CMExpress, The One-Day Series, designed to sharpen core communications skills on key tourism linkages, such as community and geo-tourism, cricket, culture and heritage, diaspora and multicultural markets, the environment,  HIV/AIDS and young people.

“After six successful sessions, CMEx is shifting into high gear, and distilling all the debate, education, and energy of its past sessions into a one-day interactive training session to hone the skills of professionals in the tourism community,” said Mr. Lelei LeLaulu, President of Counterpart International.

The inaugural CMExpress is slated for Kingston, Jamaica on Friday, November 19, 2004 to coincide with the UNFPA, United Nations Population Fund 2004 Caribbean Media Awards, co-produced by Counterpart International.

Those leading the regional workshops include Emmy award-winning broadcast journalists Barbadian Doug Hoyte and American Andria Hall; Jamaica-based communications professional Marcia Erskine; Clayton Sizemore, operations manager at Cable News Network (CNN); United Nations communications trainer and author Ian Williams; and Dr. Lori Boyer, assistant professor in the Manship School of Mass Communication at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. Dr. Basil Springer, chairman of Counterpart Caribbean, will chair and facilitate the workshops.

LeLaulu said that in addition to producing a full blown version of CMEx in 2005, Counterpart will also stage a number of CMExpress events throughout the Caribbean region to expose many more local journalists and industry officials to the concept of genuine sustainable tourism, innovative communications and how to use public relations techniques for local, regional and international markets.

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Since its inception in October 2001, CMEx has become a lively and effective forum for the exchange of ideas and views between the major players in the media and tourism industries of the Caribbean region. Inspired by Counterpart International and its partners, such as the Caribbean Hotel Association, CMEx has already begun to improve the quality of media coverage of sustainable tourism in the Caribbean.

The involvement of the media has also generated public awareness of the region’s largest and most important industry, and so has helped to involve the people of the Caribbean in the design of the sustainable tourism policies on which their future social and economic development depends.

“The journalists who have been exposed to CMEx have definitely taken a different attitude towards reporting tourism,” noted Executive Vice-President of the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association, Sue Springer. She observed more journalists participating in tourism events and symposia on the island and has noticed that “they are conscientiously checking facts in their stories before they hit the press.”
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