The Caribbean Hotel Association (CHA) and American Express presented the 3rd annual Caribbean Tourism Media Awards…
The Caribbean Hotel Association (CHA) and American Express presented the 3rd annual Caribbean Tourism Media Awards at the Caribbean Hotel Industry Conference (CHIC 2004) in Fajardo, Puerto Rico. The award aims to raise regional awareness about the impact of tourism, by fostering excellence in tourism reporting in the Caribbean. Arelis Pena Brito, business writer with El Caribe Newspaper in the Dominican Republic; Marvin Hokstam, from Sint Maarten; and Mark Meredith, with the Trinidad Express and Samaan Magazine, Trinidad & Tobago, were recognized for quality in professional reporting on tourism and tourism development issues.
Arelis Pena Brito won the overall award, in recognition of her extensive body of work covering the range of tourism topics with a sharp business focus that highlights the economic, social, and environmental impact of tourism in the Dominican Republic. Worthy of mention is her recent coverage of the efforts of the Dominican Congress to enact legislation to reduce the National Parks and Protected Areas in order to give way to a contentious tourism development proposed for the Bayahibe area, a leader of environmentally-sound practices in tourism in the Dominican Republic. Over the course of more than three months, Pena Brito followed the progress of the controversy from the standpoint of all stakeholders, developers, government, and the community.
Likewise, Marvin Hokstam,a freelance writer who contributes regularly to The Daily Herald in Sint Maarten, was a finalist in the print category, for his signature, no-holds-barred style covering tourism issues, as they relate to other aspects of Sint Maartener life. A classic example is his story entitled Caribbean sex industry under siege, in which Hokstam addressed the problem of prostitution as a flourishing segment of the tourism industry in Sint Maarten and the region.
For his part, Mark Meredith, editor-in-chief of Samaan Magazine and contributor to the Trinidad Sunday Express, both print and online versions, addressed the degradation of Maracas Bay in a series of investigative exposes. The articles look at the impact that the declining condition of Maracas is having on the tourism industry, the local economy, and the well-being of the surrounding community, as well as at government action in the matter. The series won in the electronic category and was finalist for the overall award.
Something that stood out in the evaluation process this year is that most submissions encompassed not just a single interesting story, but an entire body of work on tourism related issues, with a strong investigative approach and socially sensitive issues, said Simon B. Suarez, CHA President. We applaud the journalists` initiative to delve deep into the issues, from both an economic and a social standpoint. This approach can contribute significantly to help shape public opinion and policy on tourism, he added.
The Caribbean Tourism Media Awards is part of CHA and American Express` commitment to increasing awareness about the importance of the sustainable development of the tourism industry to the economic and social well being of the region and its people.
In addition to the Awards, CHA is one of the organizers of the Caribbean Media Exchange on Sustainable Tourism (CMEx), an innovative program produced in conjunction with Air Jamaica, Counterpart International, Caribbean Alliance for Sustainable Tourism (CHA`s environmental arm), and Caribbean Broadcasting Union. The upcoming sixth edition will be held June 24-28, 2004, in St. Lucia. American Express has been a continuous supporter of CMEx, from its very first edition in October 2001.
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