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By Bevan Springer
WASHINGTON, DC (March 10, 2006) – Collaboration and innovative planning are needed to address sustainable tourism effectively, says environmental television programming pioneer, Barbara Pyle.

Speaking after Counterpart International's recent Caribbean Media Exchange on Sustainable Tourism (CMEx) in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Pyle, former Environment Editor of CNN, lauded the conference for exemplifying this approach, providing information while calling for action about sustainable tourism and environmental issues.

"If journalists are given the opportunity to widen their sphere of knowledge and build their own capacity, that will reflect in their reporting and the public will get a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities that we all face together in the creation of a sustainable planet. Once again, CMEx has provided a unique opportunity to learn about the role models of sustainable tourism. In addition, the roundtable discussions have become very lively and give the chance for expertise and know-how to be transferred between the journalists and the other expert attendees," said Pyle.

CMEx is an interactive workshop that allows journalists from the Caribbean, North America and Europe to interact with people from the hospitality sector and government to discuss how tourism policies can improve the lives of Caribbean people.

The 8th full scale CMEx conference, produced in partnership with the Puerto Rico Tourism Company, examined the theme, "Sustainable Development: A Balancing Act".

Pyle's own personal mission emphasizes sharing knowledge about "replicable models of sustainable development/tourism to enable people to learn from other's experiences and not reinvent the wheel with respect to best practices."

She believes CMEx, based on a similar philosophy, is an indispensable resource for journalists and others. "As one of the founders of CNN's World Report, it is clear to me that CMEx is becoming as important a source of valuable knowledge, experience and networking to Caribbean journalists as the CNN World Report Contributors' Conference has become for international journalists from all parts of the world," she commented.

"The media shapes public opinion and the role of journalists in covering the success stories of sustainable tourism is critical to the successful practice of sustainable tourism. It is a win-win-win situation. All sectors benefit from their participation in CMEx – the media, the tourism sector and even government."

At the conference, Pyle also delivered a short video presentation honoring the work of the late Dr. Antonia Pantoja, winner of the prestigious US Presidential Medal of Freedom award and founder of ASPIRA, a national organization dedicated to empowering communities and Puerto Rican youth.

CMEx San Juan sponsors and supporters included Almond Resorts, Association of Caribbean Media Workers, Barbara Pyle Foundation, Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, Bay Gardens Hotel, Black Entertainment Television (BET J), Caribbean Alliance for Sustainable Tourism, Caribbean Broadcasting Union, Caribbean Hotel Association, Caribbean World News Network, Coco Resorts, ENG Caribbean Vision Center, Puerto Rico Tourism Company, Ruder Finn, SpeakEasy M.E.D.I.A. Inc., Spirit Airlines, The Tourism Development Company Limited of Trinidad and Tobago, United Nations Development Programme, and "We are the Caribbean Media Services".

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