World Day of Tourism Journalists, experts speak out
Santo Domingo.- Why is the World Day of Tourism Journalists celebrated? The declaration of this World Day emerged during the eighth Congress of Tourism Journalists and Professionals, held on September 5, 2018, in the city of Iguazú, Argentina.
It had the official approval of the World Tourism Journalism Organization (WTJO), the Latin American Alliance of Tourism Journalists, the Iguazú Convention Bureau, the Directorate of Tourism and Illustrious Heritage of the Municipality of La Serena, the University of La Serena, the National University of La Patagonia, national and local governments of America and Europe, among other entities.
Tourism journalism, a concept that tends to confusion
Tourism journalism is a specialization of the social communication profession dedicated to informing about the various aspects related to tourism. This is possible through the collection of information, analysis and projection of topics related to the tourist infrastructure, as well as tourist, cultural and gastronomic activities of the different regions through mass media.
The tourism journalist is responsible for writing tourism news in print, television or digital media, and reflects own and other people’s experiences about places of tourist interest, as well as complaints about elements that threaten the environment and other actors in the sector.
It is closely related to issues of social interest, since it analyzes tourist destinations based on statistics and information from the hotel sector, tour operators, travel agencies and entrepreneurs in the tourism field.
The best known formats of tourism journalism are the travel chronicle, which describes elements related to schedules, details and the most relevant events of a trip, and the tourist note, which is the collection of data for the writing of a text on tourism, whose purpose is to inform, give opinions, educate and denounce irregularities or events.
Tourism journalists speak out
The general director of the World Tourism Journalism Organization (WTJO) for 2023, Salvador Batista, founder of ReccoriendoConSalvador.com, recognized the effort of the professionals of the sector in highlighting the tourist attractions of a country in an ethical and responsible way.
He also pointed out that journalists and communicators specialized in tourism have the commitment to denounce situations that arise in tourist centers and poles, in order to improve the quality of life of their collaborators and the community.
“Through radio, written and digital comments we can protect the environment, the communities that, in one way or another, live from tourism, but above all, we can seek solutions to problems that may tarnish the image of a nation,” said the expert in a press release.
Miguel Ledesma, secretary general and founder of the WTJO, said that as the World Day of Tourism Journalists is celebrated on September 5, agreements have been reached with international entities to further specialize communicators in the different areas of tourism.
“We seek to support initiatives so that journalists and communicators specialize in cultural, gastronomic, environmental and ecological tourism, historical and religious tourism, among others,” he stated.
As the professional in tourism communication prepares himself, Ledhesma explained, he has a better base to know how to defend this line of tourism through his journalistic work in the different media where he works or is involved.
Yenny Polanco Lovera, recently re-elected as president of the Dominican Association of Tourist Press (Adompretur), confessed to El Nuevo Diario that traveling, even if it is for work, is a hobby, an enjoyment, “I love to travel, to report, to make known destinations that people hardly know; I love that after a few years people say: ‘I knew that place because of you'”.
In relation to community tourism, Polanco Lovera understands that “there is still a long way to go, although many destinations have been made known in recent years; the campaign of the Ministry of Tourism, added to the promotion, has been good, but there are issues regarding roads, infrastructure and places of difficult access that must be addressed.”
For Adrian R. Morales González, content editor, since 2008, of Bohío magazine – the pioneer of the Dominican tourism press since 1966 – and founding journalist of the Dominican Today news portal, the first English-language newspaper of its kind in the country since 2005, tourism journalism is not about promoting destinations and places, “you have to take a deep and objective look, because this segment of journalism requires ethical and formal training in a digital world full of mixed information. The touristic journalist must be able to understand, analyze and create content of social interest.”
Morales added that touristic journalism serves as a powerful tool for cultural exchange and understanding. “In a world increasingly interconnected but often divided by all sorts of misunderstandings, these journalists have the ability to break down stereotypes and foster empathy among people from different backgrounds. By highlighting the richness of various cultures, traditions and lifestyles, touristic journalism encourages cross-cultural appreciation and helps build a more tolerant and inclusive global community.”
WTO speaks out for the first time
For the first time, the World Tourism Organization (WTO) spoke out about the World Tourism Journalism Organization (WTJO) in echoing the Pasaporte Abierto (Open Passport) 2023 celebration.
According to the WTO, Open Passport is a recognition of tourism journalists who carry out their work in an ethical manner and the organizations that collaborate with the committed work of these tourism communication professionals. “The award seeks to represent the need to live in a world without borders where respect, solidarity and free access to information prevail,” the entity wrote on its official website.
The WTO also spoke of the objectives of Pasaporte Abierto: to promote and educate about tourism journalism in order to foster greater development, encourage journalists to innovate and create quality tourism content, disseminate and reward the work of professionals from around the world to achieve greater distinction of this specialization, recognize those who promote and accompany the work of tourism journalists, and raise awareness about the need to live in a fairer and more united world.
Cali will host the celebration in 2024
The city of Cali, Colombia, will host the celebrations of World Day of Tourism Journalists in 2024, as part of the eighth edition of the Pasaporte Abierto international award, sponsored by WTJO.
Colombian communicator Kevin Casanova was appointed Director General of the WTJO for 2024, thus relieving Salvador Batista of these functions.