UNWTO Workshop Highlights Modern Tourism Communications in Africa

Saturday, November 18, 2023


The inaugural Communications, Media, and Tourism Training Workshop in Africa, held in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe from November 13-15, highlighted the increased significance of tourism and its potential for greater visibility beyond the sector. The three-day workshop centered on opportunities to integrate tourism into mainstream conversations while addressing ongoing challenges faced by communities, destinations, and the African region as a whole.

During the UNWTO‘s Communications, Media, and Tourism Training Workshop in Africa, the emphasis was on active learning for both participants and trainers, reflecting UNWTO’s collaborative approach to communications. The first day involved visits to three case studies around Victoria Falls, showcasing the impact of tourism:

• Tourism for Wildlife Conservation: A visit to Victoria Falls Wildlife Trust highlighted community-led conservation efforts, emphasizing where tourism supports wildlife protection and opportunities for improvement.

• Tourism for Development: Meetings with Umuzi Village leaders shed light on challenges faced by small destinations in accessing tourism benefits, particularly in outreach, communications, and promotion.

• Tourism for Nature: Exploring the rainforest in Victoria Falls National Park showcased tourism’s role in preserving ecosystems while underscoring its unrealized potential.

The UNWTO’s Africa workshop featured field trips as the foundation for interactive learning sessions and workshops. With 50 participants from 20 countries, the focus was on addressing key challenges in tourism communication, including media pitching, building relations, and narrative framing for tourism development. Experts from UNWTO and the media spectrum, including Meta, Channels TV, and TraveMedia Ireland, provided insights on mainstream media placement, social media’s role in tourism development, working with the media, and effective communication highlighting tourism’s impact on culture, heritage, and communities.

Solutions and debates
Participants, building on the insights gained from field trips, actively engaged in discussions and proposed solutions to challenges in pitching tourism to wider media, adapting to a changing media landscape, and broadening tourism beyond leisure. The discussions revealed common goals across diverse destinations but also underscored knowledge gaps. UNWTO expressed readiness to provide additional media training. The workshop also delved into crisis communications, leveraging diverse expertise to identify proactive measures and enhance preparedness.

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