The Arusha Times

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ISSN 0856-9135

No. 00277

July 5-11, 2003



Encourage the media to promote tourism

By Elisha Mayallah

Among the biggest problems facing the tourism promotion in Tanzania today is inadequate coverage of Tanzania's tourism products in both local and International media. Besides the various approaches to develop the tourism product, journalism plays a key role in bringing the awareness of diverse tourism attractions, among others. Equally important are the characters of positive attitudes, integrity and dedication for the journalist about the tourism destination.

After the Indaba market show in The Republic of South Africa last May, The Tanzania Tourist Board (TTB) offered an award to Mr. Tom Verde an American travel Journalist who had provided outstanding coverage of Tanzania's tourism products for the year 2003, among other awards. TTB established the Tanzania Tourism Awards in 2001, both to express its support and appreciation to the travel professionals and the media who have worked hard promoting and selling Tanzania. And, as an incentive to increase the number of journalists in the future.

Mr. Tom Verde, on assignment in Tanzania for National Public Radio, produced a radio segment on the Selous for the prestigious National Public Radio (NPR) Award-winning Living on Earth programme, which was aired on more than 230 stations in the United States of America. In addition to NPR coverage, Verde's Selous story was a major feature in the Boston Globe on-line as well as shared by Copley News Service, a news wire service picked up by 1500 major daily newspapers nationwide and featured on the Copley News Service website.

Tanzania is well-positioned geographically, a gateway to six landlocked countries, and a larger market within the regional economic groupings to which we belong such as the East African Community and the Southern African Development Community all of which provide a market of about 250 million people.

In order to take advantage of this prospective market, the need to promote the tourism attractions through the media are far more worthwhile than relying on fliers and brochures, which normally has a limit of information. Tourism attraction awareness and education through the media, in order to be effective, should focus on different market segmentation.

Many newspapers in South Africa feature many articles on tourism in the southern part of Africa including both Namibia and Botswana. As an example, Namibia, Swaziland and Botswana enjoy a big tourist market share from The Republic of South Africa. And, in turn the society in these countries has an opportunity to enlighten themselves of their cultural heritage and other tourist preferred attractions, through the local media.

By providing the society with information on hotels, airlines and other infrastructures, it brings the awareness to the society of the connectivity of a lot more services offered to the tourism industry. Just as an example, since this newspaper had started a column on Dining Out there have been many people out there who are eager to sample different menus offered in different eating-places in and around Arusha. I think there is a lesson to be learnt by all of us from these articles. And, I am convinced that we need more people to write about many sectors, which will continue to make Tanzania as a preferred tourist destination.

No doubt, Tanzania is blessed by a wealth of diverse tourism attractions, but if we are not able to promote them, then we are losing our opportunity to increase economic gains. It is important that we recognize that there is no single strategic approach for promoting the tourism industry. That is to say, there are many sound strategic approaches that can be done by different stakeholders, media inclusive, to promote Tanzania as a tourist destination. The collaborative strategy process needs to harmonize the range of choices, which are available - creating the much-needed coherence of tourism promotion and tourism development.

Tourism is an industry that needs everyone to take part and the media for that matter is equally important in forging the focus and vision, which are necessary attributes for the tourism growth. And participation of the media in tourism promotion efforts should be encouraged and applauded.


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