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PLANETA EVENT

Media, Environment and Tourism Conference

COMMUNICATION WIKI

A newspaper has a choice. They can say we are the experts, or they can say 'this is interesting' ask their readers to comment.
- News Notebook

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FLICKR ALBUM: Planeta


In November 2001, Planeta hosted the Media, Environment and Tourism Conference which brought together more than 160 media professionals from around the globe.

The conference focused on the linkages between the environmental and tourism beats. Discussion ranged from reflections on the state of travel guidebooks to the ethics of environmental journalism to suggestions for niche publishers. Most of the discussion focused on the urgent need to improve the coverage of place.

The event was co-sponsored by Guidebook Writers.com, National Geographic Traveler, Society for Environmental Journalists and Sustainable Sources.

Active participation was limited to media professionals. The result was a frank discussion and exciting proposals for follow-up work.

OUTCOMES

We have published a summary. Also, several essays were published during the event: Herb Hiller's Place as a determinant of travel and Holly Quan's Banff Heritage Tourism Strategy, Ron Mader's Overview of the Market and Joe Cumming's Perceptions of the Mekong Sub-Region.

In 2002, Ron Mader presented initial findings from the MET Conference to a policy meeting hosted by Stanford University: Ecotourism and Conservation in the Americas: Putting Good Intentions to Work.

Also in 2002, South Africa's Rhodes University published its Journalism Review which included an essay culled from the MET Conference titled The Coverage of Place.

The conference is cited in Content Analysis of the UK Travel Print Media and Responsible Tourism.

FOLLOW-UP

Follow-up work includes a dialogue on Tourism, Crisis and Improving the Conversation.

PROPOSALS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

The MET Conference and post event dialogue developed a number of innovative proposals and recommendations:

Media should focus more on place instead of destination.

Media outlets, including newspapers and magazines, should hire editors capable of embedding details of sustainable practice and responsible travel.

Journalists need to create a list of questions that should be standard for a review of sustainable tourism practices.

Participants recommended Internet workshops and training for local leaders working toward environmental conservation and tourism development.

Create a synergistic network of websites dedicated to environmental travel and establish a larger advertiser base.

Encourage local roundtable discussions around the globe which bring together stakeholders.

Participants should consider developing new publishing strategies

GENERAL ADVICE

Media professionals need to be honest with their readers and the places they cover.

Media coverage should not be confused with criticism or cheerleading.

TIPS FOR PUBLISHERS

A number of writers commented on the lackluster market for guidebooks that focus specifically on nature travel and ecotourism. The evolution and demise of the "Adventures in Nature" series of guidebooks was explored in depth. When asked what the publisher could have done differently, author Richard Mahler provided a thoughtful list of suggestions.

Have the book distributed more widely in-country, particularly among lodges, outfitters, stores, eco-destinations, and travel agencies that cater specifically to likely readers/purchasers.

Make more comp copies available to journalists and publications covering the environment, ecotourism, and adventure/nature/heritage travel.

Actually donate a small percentage of book income to local environmental organizations or programs that are deemed worthy and legitimate.

Hire or train a specialist in marketing to travel agents, media outlets, travel bookstores, and others who are in a position to promote the book to those with an obvious interest.

Cover the expenses of an author who is ready and willing to do a "road show" promoting his/her new book, possibly including a slide and lecture program at bookstores, environmental forums, and so on.

Develop Web materials that will interest a potential reader/buyer of a book

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QUESTIONS

We launched the MET Conference by inviting participants to reflect upon a series of questions about the linkages between media coverage, tourism and the environment:

How reliable are tourism statistics?

What definitions do journalists use for tourism?

What do journalists covering environmental tourism want from government offices, travel agencies and their own publishers?

How reliable are eco-related certification standards?

Do journalists have an opportunity to evaluate PR companies and/or specific campaigns?

How can journalists work together to evaluate and cross-check tourism destinations and services?


FEATURES

g Fair Trade in Travel Writing and Photography
g The Value of Place
g Travel Notebook
g Citizen Journalism - Ron Mader
g Place as a determinant of travel and focus for writing - Herb Hiller
g Banff Heritage Tourism Strategy - Holly Quan
g Mejorando el Dialogo - Tere Carpinelli
g Perceptions of the Mekong Sub-Region - Joe Cummings
b The Coverage of Place - Ron Mader/Rhodes Journalism Review (PDF)

WIKI

g Journalism
g Healing the Disconnect: An Overview of Ecotourism Reporting
g Open journalism
g Toward Effective Communication
ONLINE WIKI


PLANETA.COM

Planeta.com is an award-winning water cooler that presents articles and discussion about the environment and travel. Planeta.com debuted in 1994. Travelers will find tips on choosing eco-friendly, people-friendly and place-friendly trips. Professionals will find a number of helpful resources, including the Exploring Ecotourism Resource Guide. If you have questions about our site, contact us.


CALENDAR

November 2001: Conference
January 2002: Preparation of Summary Document
June 2002: Presentation of MET during Ecotourism and Conservation in the Americas Conference
September 2002: Publication of findings in Rhodes Journalism Review
February 2003: Presentation of findings during Educational Travel Conference
November 2003: Presentation of findings during roundtable discussion, Yucatan Bird Festival


PLANETA CONFERENCES

g Evaluating the International Year of Ecotourism + 10 2012
g Tourism and Biodiversity 2010-2012
g Food, Health and Cultivating Communities 2008-2011
g Tourism and Climate Change 2008-2009
g Ecotourism Challenges Dialogue 2007
g City Environments 2004-2011
g Environmental Impact of Transportation 2003
g Sustainable Development of Ecotourism 2002
CALENDAR
INDEX

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PLANETA


UPGRADE YOUR WORLD

Check out Ron's workshops and presentations.

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