The Role Of Media And Communication In Tourism Development
The media is increasingly playing an important role in promoting tourism. The SAT Strategy (2013: 12) suggests that the opportunities in the tourism industry are so numerous but are not yet fully exploited where more marketing is needed to create more awareness. The aim of this study is to determine the influence of the media in promoting tourism business activities in Nigeria. The primary objective of the research is to examine the value of social media in promoting tourism in Nigeria.
The study followed a quantitative research method in order to attain the set objectives of the study. Non-probability sampling technique was employed in recruiting the participants. Convenience and purposive sampling techniques were used to generate the sample population in this study. The target population for the study were all the tourists that visited the Nigeria tourist destinations. The researcher managed to secure a 90% response rate as 272 questionnaires out of 300 were collected. A structured self-administered questionnaire with 42 questions was used in the survey that was conducted to obtain primary data. The study used both descriptive and inferential statistics. Statistical Package for Social Scientists (SPSS) version 23.0 was used to analyse the data.
1.1 Background of the Study
The role that the media is playing in the various aspects of life is becoming increasingly greater each day, especially in spheres like social interaction, and cultural and educational aspects of our life. As archaeological monuments can articulate the traditions, customs and heritage of the past, the media can in its turn clarify today’s values and civilizations of the different countries and hence attempt to correct any widespread erroneous information. Both the media and archaeological monuments have messages and missions with various dimensions. The media contributes greatly in activating tourist attractions.
Before discussing the role of the media as an instrument in tourism policy, it should be noted that, broadly speaking, the relationship between tourism and the media is one of inclusion. When speaking of tourism policy that focuses on specific areas of tourism, the media become a mediator between tourism and society, meaning that they mediate in a process of conveying tourism products from the producers to the consumers.
Media communications technologies are imperative for frontline investments for sustainable globalised tourism development indicators. The powerful effects of media communications can bring sweeping changes of attitudes and behaviour among the key actors in local, national and global tourism for peace, security and sustainable development. The social, cultural, economic, political and environmental benefits of tourism would usher in monumental and historic changes in the country. As the verdict goes, the media has a social responsibility to enhance the blending of local, national and international cultural values for enriched politics, society and economy. Public communications strategy based on access to quality information and knowledge will drive the new global tourism through partnership initiatives such as: peace and security, conflict resolutions for eco tourism, quality tourism, Joint ventures, technology transfer, etc.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Most hospitality industries have been implementing media and communication for the development of the tourism industry. Development in communication is one of the best ways to go in developing tourism. This strategy involves the planned communication component of programmes designed to change the attitudes and behaviour of specific groups of people in specific ways through person to person communication, mass media, traditional media or community communication. It is aims at the delivery of services and the interface between service deliverers and beneficiaries where people are empowered to by informed choice, education, motivation and facilitation effecting the expected changes. This can be done by media advocacy targeting all key stakeholders involved in the tourism industry.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The main purpose for the study is to explore the role of media and communication in tourism and development in Nigeria.
Therefore, the objectives for the research are;
- To determine the role of media and communication in tourism development
- To examine the impact the impact so far
- To examine the economic benefit of media and communication in tourism development
- To determine ways of improving the use of media and communication in the tourism development
1.4 Research Questions
- What is the role of media and communication in tourism development?
- What is the impact so far?
- What are the economic benefit of media and communication in tourism development?
- What are the ways of improving the use of media and communication in the tourism development?
1.5 Significance of the Study
Effective use of communication techniques can barriers and promote better uses participatory message design which combines both traditional and modern media. Like: The internet granted the freedom enjoyed by print media and common carriers such as letters, mails, and cable to the public media. Through audio streaming it is possible to enhance the reach of radio signals to any part of the world. The internet’s vast capacity enables each media house to exhaustively investigate and publish in depth analyses. Internet radio is not limited to audio as pictures, images, digital files and graphics are accessible to the users. Advertisers and their audiences can easily interact via the internet broadcasts.
The media have a crucial role to play in putting emerging destinations. The relationship between tourism and the media is vital and complex. Tourism is highly dependant on media reporting because the vast majority of travel decisions are made by people who have never seen the destination first hand for themselves. When there is bad news or a crisis the impact on tourism can be devastating. Tourists are scared away from destinations caught in the glare of round-the-clock disaster coverage, causing communities dependent on tourism to lose their source of livelihood.
1.5.Scope of the Study
As the researcher highlighted before, the study focuses on assessing media and it aims at promoting Nigeria‟s Tourism for both local and international tourists. In addition, the language are easy to understand for the researcher as well as to collect essential materials for the research input.
1.6. Limitation of the Study
Though the objective of this research is to study the role of media in promoting Nigeria‟s tourism development.
The researcher couldn‟t to get the respondents for Individual In-depth interviewee, they were engaged on their own duty, and it was very challenging to interviewee on time. Moreover the key informants were not available in a fixed time and place. As a result the researcher experienced challenges to set appropriate time and place for each of them.
Conclusions and Recommendations
The conclusions derived from the findings are:
- Social media is of paramount importance in promoting tourism and it is not just an optional extra. Tourism businesses that do not use or fail to use social features to increase efficiency and lower communication barriers may not survive long.
- The efficiency available in using social media compared to traditional communication channels prompted this study to conclude that social media is one of the most effective tools in promoting tourism.
- Tourists refer to social media at all stages of their trips. Predominantly, social media is used for information search prior to the trip, updating friends about departures, arrivals and destinations during the trip, and sharing experiences after the trip.
- Social media influences the final decision of a tourist to a considerable extent. The extent and implications of the influences exerted by social media to the tourist’s decision making process caused fundamental changes to the tourists’ decisions.
5.2 General Recommendations
The study yields many implications for both practice and literature on the promotion of tourism. The study explored the influence of social media in promoting tourism. Following the results of this research effort, it is recommended that tourism marketing bodies and tourism companies must break communication barriers and increase their efficiency in promoting tourism activities by increasing the utilisation of the social media platform in their ongoing efforts to showcase the City and the Country at large as tourist destinations of choice. According to Kaplan and Haenlein (2010: 62) the higher level of efficiency available in using social media compared to traditional communication channels prompted tourism industry leaders to state that tourism companies, like any other company, must participate on Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, and other social media sites in order to succeed in today’s technological and business environment.
5.3 Specific Recommendations
Listed below are specific recommendations based on the findings of the study.
5.3.1 Encourage more Nigerian to visit their own country
The results of the primary study revealed that Nigeria are not dominant in visiting their country. This was also found to be consistent with the literature by Van Rooyen (2011: 6) who suggest that the decrease in international tourists is past years was as a result of local tourists who were afraid to visit resort places like the beach-front because of crime levels. More domestic campaigns need to be undertaken to mobilise Nigeria to visit places in their own country. Bennet, Jooster and Strydom (2005: 26) suggest that the promotion and development of tourism should not take place without the participation and involvement of local communities. Local people must be incorporated in the tourism development agenda.
5.3.2 Attracting tourists from other continents
The primary study revealed that three-quarters of the international tourists were Africans. This indicates that the city draws the majority of its tourists from other African countries. There is a need to intensify marketing efforts in other continents besides Africa. This will allow the country to move towards achieving its goal of becoming one of the top 20 global tourist destinations by 2020 as reported in the literature (Asia News Monitor 2015.2).
5.3.3 Adopting and integrating new social media applications
The theoretical study of this research work revealed that there are a number of companies which are still lagging in the utilisation of social media marketing platform. This study was undertaken to make tourism companies understand the business potential in social media. The study recommends the integration of social media applications on companies or tourism marketing organisations’ websites. Milwood, Marchiori and Zach (2013: 165) suggest that, given the potential effectiveness of social media in promoting tourism in recent years, destination marketing organisations (DMOs) are forced to adopt and integrate this new technology so that they can better communicate with their online target audience.
5.3.4 Use social media to create awareness of the positive transformations.
Many changes have taken place in obudu, especially the transformation of the beach-front resort area. The theoretical study reveal that local tourists were afraid to visit these places like the beach-front resort places due to high crime level (Van Rooyen 2011: 6). He highlights that things have changed and there is need to send a word to tourists that Obudu is now a friendly tourist destination. Social media is one such communication platform which is recommended by this study to be utilised to create awareness of those positive transformations. It can deliver the promotional messages which the City may need to communicate to all corners of the world.
5.3.5 Increase online marketing efforts
The primary study revealed the strategic importance of social media in tourism competitiveness. It represents a very important tool to communicate and engage with travellers. This implies that social media marketing should be incorporated in the online marketing plan of tourism businesses as suggested by Gay et al. (2007: 3). The study recommends tourism operators to raise their level of online commitment and transform their marketing strategies to the online environment. The Internet provides a wide range of new ways for users to interact with one another, with business, and with online content. This provision for interactivity is, according to Gay et al. (2007: 8), the greatest advantage of online marketing.
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