For the tourism Industry to thrive and contribute to the Gross Domestic Products, GDP of any economy, the media has a major role to play.
This was the submission of Mrs. Maiden Ibru, publisher, Guardian newspapers while declaring open the 7th Akwaaba African Travel Market at the Eko Hotel and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos.
Mrs. Ibru said, tourism not only creates direct and local employment, statistics by the World Travel and Tourism Council, WTTC, shown that, tourism was responsible for 238 million (8.8%) jobs globally, USD 6.6 trillion (9.1%) of the world GDP, USD 652 billion (4.5%) of the global investment pre-pandemic.
While describing these figures as staggering, she emphasized that, though it is not all rosy and perfect in the Sub-Saharan African due to heightened insurgency occasioned by Boko Ha ram, ISWAP including the Covid amongst others, tourism can still thrive.
The Guardian publisher said, the role of the media in addressing these significant strategic tensions and reactivate tourism is to create a compelling narratives of the Africa the continent desire.
Others are for the media to present factual, accurate and balanced accounts of health and security challenges relative to tourism advice and that way, this will assist potential tourists make informed decisions.
“Highlights positive stories and images of tourism in Sub-Saharan Africa and Africa widely”.
“Articulate the benefits of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, AfCFTA, which seeks to eliminate barriers across Intra-African trade. By extension heightening the potential scaling-up of direct and indirect employment across the continent”.
Mrs. Ibru says, to develop the tourism industry, practitioners and managers must understand that, the media, newspapers, radio, TV and online are potent tools for mass mobilization, socialization, integration, cultural promotion amongst others.
According to her, in recent years, user-generated content on social media, the opinion of travel bloggers and entertainment programme in the media have influenced the publics travel purchasing behavior and has acted as a driving force for the development of tourism.
“With the growing popularity of the internet and social sites such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, social media is now an important channel that allows messages to be spread to the public”.
“The impact of tourism is seen in the way people research before going on a trip. Now, people are encouraged to share their travel experience. The social media has transformed the way people make decisions. People build trust in a tourism agency based on the reviews of others”.