Tourism and Media, Can Help

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Dr. Carol Jacobs, Chairman of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, says the tourism sector is of critical importance in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

“In a region which boasts of 40 million tourists passing through the region annually, the tourism sector must see itself as having a critical role in sensitizing those who work in the industry, as well as those who travel for pleasure or for work,”

said Dr. Jacobs, an eminent Caribbean family physician, who also chairs the Barbados National HIV/AIDS Commission.
Dr. Jacobs’ comments come as St. Lucia prepares to host a large delegation of Caribbean media, tourism and development officials for the Caribbean Media Exchange on Sustainable Tourism (CMEx), a dynamic regional forum known for dealing head on with the controversial connections between tourism and HIV/AIDS.

“CMEx (to be held October 12-16, 2006) is an important forum which brings media practitioners together to reflect on wide and varied issues. Communication is the primary vehicle through which awareness can be raised and ultimately behaviour changed. The AIDS program relies heavily on our media partners to help us achieve these ends,” said Dr. Jacobs.

The National HIV/AIDS Commission in Barbados will be represented by well known journalist and public relations officer Marilyn Sealy, who also is a behaviour change communication specialist. Other delegates expected to share their expertise on this issue are the largely unrecognized philanthropist David Singh, Chairman and CEO of the Canadian-based Destiny Group of Companies; Trinidadian communications specialist, Yvonne Roberts-White, a former communications advisor to the United Nations Population Fund; Jamaica-based PR consultant Marcia Erskine; and Dionyse Fitzwilliam, a New York-based investment banker who also works with the Hibiscus Foundation of Trinidad and Tobago which funds national pediatric programs, especially in the area of HIV/AIDS.

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