BARBADOS (September 24, 2006) – 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.

\”I am grateful that CMEx has once again chosen to focus some attention on the issues around HIV/AIDS. The media\’s role in using communication strategies to reach the various vulnerable groups regionally will help mitigate the impact of the AIDS epidemic and will ultimately contribute to the sustainability of our regional tourism product,\” said Dr. Jacobs.

The fifth anniversary of CMEx, to be held at Coco Resorts and a host of other properties on the island, also will examine the enhancement of sustainable tourism development through the lens of \”Chic Communications Concepts\”, discussing culinary, cultural, health, sports, and village tourism linkages over four days in Castries.

For further information, including registration, visit www.caribbeanmediaexchange.com.


CMEx St. Lucia, produced by Counterpart International, is sponsored and/or supported by Air Jamaica, Almond Resorts, Association of Caribbean Media Workers, The Barbara Pyle Foundation, Bay Gardens Hotel, Black Entertainment Television (BET J), Caribbean Alliance for Sustainable Tourism, Caribbean Broadcasting Union, Caribbean Hotel Association, Caribbean Tourism Organisation, Caribbean World News Network, Coco Resorts, Counterpart Caribbean, Destiny Group of Companies, Ruder Finn, Scotiabank, St. Lucia Hotel and Tourism Association, St. Lucia Ministry of Tourism, St. Lucia Tourist Board, Tourism Development Company of Trinidad and Tobago and United Nations Development Programme.