A top level tourism researcher at
VISIT FLORIDA, the private-public partnership that serves as the official
tourism board for the State of Florida, will be one of the experts who
will teach a MasterClass on crisis communications for the tourism industry
at the 28th annual Caribbean Tourism Conference (CTC-28) in the United
States Virgin Islands next month.
Barry Pitegoff, the vice president of research for VISIT FLORIDA, will focus on how
to use research to craft a credible and appealing message following a crisis.
“Florida and the Caribbean have a lot in common and we face some of the same
challenges when it comes to disasters,” Mr. Pitegoff said.
He said he intends to walk CTC-28 delegates through these challenges and the process
of how to figure out what to say, to whom to say it and when to communicate the
message following a crisis.
“The target market needs to have a good, honest, credible knowledge of the rate at
which the product is coming back and how good the product really is,” Mr. Pitegoff
stated, “and (there is a need) to assuage the worries and concerns of the different
groups, including the consumers.”
Mr. Pitegoff has directed the research programme for Florida tourism for 25 years
and has a wealth of experience in destination tourism research, particularly in
crisis situations. He led the research that determined VISIT FLORIDA’s message in
the wake of the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States, and after
the four hurricanes that hit Florida last year.
Florida’s tourism recovered quicker than that of any other US tourism destination
following 9/11, Mr. Pitegoff said, and, despite last year’s hurricanes, a record
76.8 million people took a vacation there, a three per cent increase on 2003.
“We are very pleased that Mr. Pitegoff has agreed to teach this MasterClass. He is
recognised and respected as a veteran industry leader, and I am confident that
delegates to CTC-28 will appreciate and value the opportunity to hear his
perspective on how to approach research for crisis communications and how best to
interpret and utilise the information gathered,” said Hugh Riley, the Caribbean
Tourism Organization (CTO)‘s director of marketing for the Americas.
The MasterClass on crisis communications will examine some of the crises that the
Caribbean has had to deal with in the recent past, including natural disasters and
crime and how the communication was handled. It will also explore why the media seem
obsessed with certain types of events.
Delegates attending this session will learn from presenters who have dealt
successfully with major crises and the communications and public relations
techniques that they employed.
“This MasterClass is a great opportunity for delegates to gain invaluable
insight into this critical aspect of tourism communications because how we
respond to crisis situations is critical in having the world continue to
view the Caribbean as a place to come and enjoy a vacation. It is
therefore, essential to communicate the message correctly,” added Mr.