There's been an interesting thread on the MiForum listserv about the effects of media and influences on destinations—you know, like how any news story about New Orleans these days, even coverage of the recent mayoral elections, started with footage from the early days of the Katrina aftermath, and how that might influence meeting planners and potential attendees to rethink using it as a destination in the near future. I remember talking with some folks in Hartford, Conn., back when the TV show Providence was still on, and how they felt it gave that Rhode Island city (a close competitor) an edge up over Hartford.
Then this morning I read on e-Turbo News that HBO and the BBC are making a miniseries about the tsunami in Thailand. I am horrified for the locals, who are objecting strongly that it is just too soon to make a fictional movie about the devastation. But to keep it on a meetings level, what will this do for the destination, plus or minus, as a meetings/incentives site? I can see, on one hand, that it would just ratchet up the fear level around the area's safety for attendees. On the other, it could stir up some sympathy meetings, as happened not too long after the tsunami (and in New York, after 9/11, and in New Orleans post-Katrina, when some organizations made a point of holding meetings there to support the city). Or it could make no difference whatsover. I'd be curious to hear your thoughts on this one (either in the comments below, or e-mail me.