For the past few years I have the director of communications for the IUCN WCPA Tourism and Protected Areas Specialist Group (TAPAS). It’s election time and my quandary is how to engage TAPAS members (and voters before August 30). A vote for me would be appreciated but so would engagement with the group as a whole.
We need to hear more from members – current research, findings and most importantly questions – otherwise we have a lot of splintered, inaccessible reports, studies and publications that do not connect to a larger picture.
Likewise, we need to improve our communication with the IUCN and WCPA. Events are scheduled around the world, but rarely do we learn about tourism issues. Summits and workshops only improve when rooted in place. Regarding events, are we learning about the host destinations? Are locals able to connect with visiting dignitaries?
How do we communicate? Where do we communicate? I argued – perhaps contentiously years ago – that our conversation needed to span different platforms – Facebook, Twitter, Slideshare, YouTube – and that the way to go is encouraging our members to creatively use their blogs and wikis and share what they are doing and learning.
2017 is the International Year of Sustainable Tourism and the Year of Open. Personally, I don’t think we’ve asked enough questions or demanded enough answers from government officials, academics, ngos and other stakeholders. We can do better if our communication and collaboration improve. Enough information silos. We can improve our conversations today and cordial chats about parks and tourism should help lead the way.
Update: I lost this election. My response:
Good for us! We have a change of communications lead. Welcome, Jeremy and Sergei.
I would like to confirm my interest and support for documenting TAPAS on the Planeta Wiki, supporting the upcoming webinars and the meeting in Seychelles with coverage on Planeta and across the social web. The Seychelles meeting is of particular interest given the recent disaster in Puerto Rico. It’s time for Planeta.com to take a good look at small islands and tourism.