Social media is more than just a means of sharing with family and friends but a vital tool that can help tourism businesses communicate with the public during times of devastation, according to a public affairs specialist.
Utilising Facebook and Twitter to update tourists and locals during last years floods, Queensland Police director of media and public affairs branch Kym Charlton explained that although the event was picked up by media worldwide, more of the public was turning to Queensland Polices official Facebook page for accurate and up-to-date information.
Speaking at the 2nd International Forum on the Integration of Tourism and Emergency Management Aerial in Sydney last week, Ms Charlton said the Group saw its Facebook Likes jump by up to 100,000 over the short period and its story views rise to up to 39 million within 24hours on 10 January 2011.
One of the things we learnt was that even with the significance of mainstream media, it was still difficult to get information to people that were not in the area, she said.
[Meanwhile] for whatever reason whether they had no electricity or for other reasons, but a lot of people were telling us that they were sitting there relying on their mobile phones for information.
She added that as well as distribution information to the public, Facebook and Twitter also helped the Group kill off rumours spreading through mainstream media.
If we had an update we put it on the Facebook page and drive journalists to it, she explained.
We used it to myth bust.
It was a digital word of mouth... [and] we used it quickly to dismiss information before it made it to the media.
Earlier this year Tourism Australia also saw the potential of social media, launching a new initiative to drive more tourists to post their favourite Aussie sites on the Groups Facebook page.
Also speaking at last weeks the 2nd International Forum on the Integration of Tourism and Emergency Management Aerial, Christchurch and Canterbury chief executive Tim Hunter told guests that holding off tourism promotion after last years quake, worked in the citys favour.
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Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J