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Tourism Intelligence Not WTTC Hype

Washington, DC. April 14th, 2006 ----Tourism Intelligence is a very useful indicator of both the growth and the effects of terrorism, and the health of a nation. Tracking the global migration of sun seekers brings up some very interesting facts. The team created the ComLinks OSINT Center monitors Tourism Intelligence, Energy Intelligence and Political Intelligence. Everything else pales by comparison to the effects of the conclusions drawn from these three areas. Each is closely intertwined, and together they predict boom or bust for many regions of the world. Managing tourism has become yet another euphemism of creating the elite world of Rich White global travelers, in the mould of the old German, British and American globetrotters of years gone by. It makes like a rewrite of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Travel.

The Global Travel and Tourism Summit held this week in Washington, DC was interesting and the attendees and their agendas spoke volumes. The speakers too, especially pandering to the right wing Neo-Cons should have raised the hair on mainstream media. But as the real media had absolutely no interest in the conference, or their message they ignored it.

Like Jack Abramoff and Tom DeLay they will begin to see their dreams crumble as reality begins to dawn. Their dreams of millions of low paid Hispanics in neat cotton uniforms pandering to their every whim has been derailed. But reality were never their strong points so they can use their corporate wealth to create expensive Councils and Associations with grandiose sounding names in an effort to fool the public.

But the time has come for real action, and these organizations are being seen for what they really are, platforms for agendas or promotion of their self proclaimed leaders. It's time for a concerted effort to develop a structured network that can do more than expensive events. The world is facing more and more tension, and real tourism, with all represented will diffuse many a looming disaster.

Bird Flu for instance. In yet another insulated statement from the Ivory Tower of the WTTC this week, that Bird Flu was not a problem. Not if the airlines or hotels are quarantined. In cases such as these where outbreaks can impact profits, then blame the media. Fortunately there were some sane voices not beating the New World Order drum.

"The role of the media is also crucial for informing the general public but also for bringing a sense of proportion to the risks and reality of global emergencies. Peter Breenberg, Travel Editor, NBC Today and America Online said the model set by SARS was an example of how government tried to control the event and it became a media event. “The new media is citizen journalism – everyone is out there with cell phones, cameras in their phone – nothing you and I can do is going to change what the bloggers are saying.

They may not be reliable but they’re going to be heard in the vacuum created by a lack of information.”

Greece’s Health Minister, Dimitris Avramopoulos, said the media role was very important because they could inform public opinion or trigger panic because the psychological side is as bad as the actual problem. “Public opinion may be the victim of a panic that would be a catastrophe not only for travel and tourism but also for the economy,” he said.

Bingo!

From a group that is being snubbed by the mainstream media, and where the promised speech by President Bush never materialized this is magic. The travel industry couldn't effectively managed a crisis communication exercise if they tried. Their PR network is nowhere near good enough. They have some nice people, and when dealing with pretty travel writers on free trips to spas and beaches they are fine. But TIA and the other groups are hardly world class when it comes to their communication ability, or their Tourism Intelligence ability. They are lobbyists, from the world of Jack Abramoff and Tom Delay.

The cruise lines are yet another example of weak media management, of concern if Bird Flu is detected on a Cruise Ship. Will they be allowed to land, and disembark passengers. No Way! says many health officers I spoke with. The Cruise Ship in their eyes is the perfect isolation hospital, anchored offshore. How will the World Travel and Tourism people address that scenario? Probably with a lobbyists dinner.

There are many major "Tsunamis" ahead and posturing travel leaders, part of the problem not the solution, need to step aside. We need an effective Global Travel Intelligence Network designed to effectively guide the media, and the public through the troubling times ahead.

 

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