UNWTO.PRACTICUM 2012 - English Edition: Tourism Communications and Social Media

UNWTO.PRACTICUM 2012 - English Edition: Tourism Communications and Social Media

The UNWTO.Themis Foundation is launching the autumn session of the 2012 UNWTO Practicum programme. This capacity building programme will include a workshop on Tourism Communication and Social Media and will be held in English, at the UNWTO Headquarters in Madrid and in the Principality of Andorra from 16 to 23 September 2012.

Social media plays an important role in the tourism sector. The dissemination of facts, messages, opinions and pictures through Twitter, Facebook, Blogs, Flickr and other platforms has gained importance when reporting an event. Consumers as well as journalists are using these platforms to retrieve information while companies and destinations are learning to work with them in an adequate and professional manner.

Moreover, mobile devices encourage tourism communication, as they are easily portable and accessible. Whilst on holiday or on a business trip, travellers can use their smartphones or tablets to find and share information about the destination they are visiting. With large increases in tourists numbers coming from Asian countries, and China in particular (46 million travellers in 2010, and 155 million mobile Internet subscribers), and another 127 million from India, it is vital that tourism destinations reach-out to tourists. The World Travel Monitor has found that 40 % of international travellers travel with a smartphone with an internet connection, e-mail and other functions. Of the smartphone users, 40 % use them to obtain information on the destination, and 26 % of leisure travellers and 34% of business travellers use them to change bookings while travelling.  Just over a third of international travellers use their smartphones to access mobile social networks. This leads to tourists posting content on their Facebook pages or Blogs, or photographs on Twitter or Flickr, whilst they are still at the destination.  In the future it we are undoubtedly going to see how photographs and information posted will even have GPS information, with screens providing travel information.

With this background in mind, this seminar will provide an overview of the most important elements of communications and social media in Tourism, show-casting the up-to-date techniques in the area of social media while training the participants in an interactive manner.



Highly qualified officials holding a management-level post with decision-making responsibilities at the NTA interested in social media as part of a communication strategy, nominated by the highest authority of the National Tourism Administration.

Candidates should have an excellent command of English as the Practicum and Seminar will be conducted in this language. Members are requested to forward their nomination of a candidate, with the completed application form (this can be found at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/Practicum2012_English), letter of intention and supporting documents as soon as possible. Due to the inter-active nature of the Practicum, it will be limited to 15 participants.

Applications must be submitted with a formal letter from the highest authority of the National Tourism Administration (Minister, Director-General) from the respective Governments nominating their candidate. The proposed candidates will be selected on merit. The deadline for application is 20 August 2012, at the latest.



The objective of this capacity building activity is to provide participants with knowledge, skills, tools and a forum for discussion and reflection on the various communication tools so, by the end of the seminar, they can plan and manage their social media strategy.



The theoretical-practical methodology comprises presentations, discussions, debates, group work with case studies and practical activities.

The intention of this approach – the transmission and usage of various tools, the expertise of the experts and participants, the discussion forums and the practical group work – is for participants to fully understand the topics of the course.



Module 1. What is Social Media

  • Word of mouth: an introduction to social media
  • Which platforms to use for what purpose
  • What content works - and what doesn't
  • Useful tools and accounts setup

Module 2. How to use Social Media

  • Listening and responding
  • Finding your tone of voice
  • Moderating the conversation
  • Copying in a crisis

Module 3. When to use Social Media

  • Sharing experiences of participants
  • Case study: TripAdvisor
  • Verification, permissions and copyright around social media
  • Privacy and consent

Module 4. Social Media Strategy

  • Case study
  • Developing a strategy to build your community


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