TOURISM and Arts Permanent Secretary Stephen Mwansa has urged media houses in Zambia to be positive and proactive in marketing the country as a preferred destination for tourism.
Mr Mwansa noted that most media houses in Zambia were currently disseminating information through online platforms, hence the need to report positively about the country to attract more tourists.
Speaking in an interview in Livingstone, Mr Mwansa said perceptions about particular destinations were very important in the tourism industry.
On Thursday last week, Mr Mwansa officiated at a Zambia Tourism Board (ZTB) workshop conducted for local tour operators by Netherland’s Centre for the Promotion of Imports from developing Countries (CBI).
“The media should do quite a lot to help grow the tourism industry.
For instance when you post or publish online that Livingstone is a bad place, everyone in the world will agree with you because they are not here to verify.
“Some people who might have booked to come to Livingstone may even consider canceling their flights based on the information they get from the media,” Mr Mwansa said.
He said both the electronic and print media were key partners in the promotion of tourism locally and abroad.
“If you speak ill of yourself, don’t expect other countries to speak good of you. The media can either build or kill Zambia’s tourism.
“Don’t write stories to fix a Government official or a particular individual as you may end up killing the country’s tourism industry,” Mr Mwansa said.
Currently, most tourists worldwide mainly make decisions to visit particular destinations based on the information they get from the Internet and other online platforms.
By BRIAN HATYOKA – Times of Zambia