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PATA wants to draw line in sand after tsunami

REPORT – WTM2005: The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) plans what it calls…

REPORT – WTM2005: The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) plans what it calls a “respectful commemoration” of the Boxing Day 2004 tsunami in Asia.

Peter de Jong, head of PATA, says a commemorative event is necessary to achieve ‘closure’, even if such an event brings back sad memories.

“Remember,” he adds, “hundreds, maybe thousands of grieving relatives will return to pay homage to lost ones. We must respect their sensitivities.”

But he is concerned that the world’s media companies will all have converged upon the tsunami locations, looking for telegenic images and captivating stories. The challenge, he adds, is to “to reconcile both needs…(but)…draw a line in the sand and move on”.

Thailand is setting an example, probably with a candlelight ceremony on December 26, with candles in balloons being floated into the sky. Then by January 1, a series of forward-looking celebratory events.

For media management, de Jong says: “We need to anticipate story lines and video footage of calm beaches and clean waters, and interviews with satisfied visitors and responsible operators to counteract the predictable library footage

of tsunami waves crashing ashore last year.”

“We need to advise reporters of the many upbeat story angles that can be explored. And we must convince them that story lines about rebuilt communities and rebuilt livelihoods also make for good TV.”

Theodore Koumelis
Co-Founder & Managing Director - Travel Media Applications | Website

Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.