UNWTO organizes crisis communications training programme for the Middle East and North Africa
The UNWTO Themis Foundation, jointly with the Euro-Arab Institute Foundation for Education and Training (INSTEA), launched the autumn session of the 2011 UNWTO Practicum, a specialized training course for tourism officials of UNWTO Member States, focusing on crisis communications (Madrid/Granada, 20- 26 November 2011).
This session of the UNWTO Practicum was specifically designed to assist UNWTO Member States from the Middle East and North Africa region in building their knowledge and practical experiences in communication in times of crises. Under the coordination of the UNWTO Risk and Crisis Management Programme, this was the first ever Practicum to address the issue of crisis communications, recognizing this area as a crucial element of any effective crisis management system.
The Practicum put to test the new UNWTO Crisis Communications Toolbox. This recently released handbook serves as a practical guide for travel and tourism stakeholders, to effectively address the communications challenges posed by crises. The Toolbox, which includes templates for press releases and other crisis communications formats, covers issues stretching from interviews and press conference to the use of social media.
Overall, the programme provided a forum to strengthen knowledge in crisis communications and examine its implications in overall tourism policy. During a day-long training session, participants from Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Sudan, also had the opportunity to put their acquired knowledge into practice. High-pressure interviews and press conferences under real-life conditions completed the pragmatic approach of this newly initiated Practicum format.
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