The annual international tourism symposium hosted by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) recently held a media training workshop in Kasane – the gateway to Chobe National Park, where local and international journalists were fully trained on sustainable tourism reporting.
Among some of the media houses that participated included BBC, Lonely Planet, Xinhua News Agency, EL PAIS, Radio France Internationale, Jeune Afrique, Radio Botswana, Botswana Gazette, Channel Africa, Africa Renewal, First Issues, The Telegraph, Botswana Guardian, Botswana Unplugged and Gabz FM.
Hosted by UNWTO – a United Nations agency responsible for the promotion of responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism the workshop was part of the activities of the UNWTO/Chimelong Programme which include capacity building, training and advocacy actions on sustainable tourism and wildlife. The training was facilitated by UNWTO Chief of Communication, Rubet Gomet-Sobrino who spoke vividly about the impact of wildlife tourism on the African continent, the different journalistic angles and the relevance of story-telling in tourism reporting.
Challenges such as access to information related to wildlife management, media capacities to cover technical aspects of this theme and the need to improve relations and exchanges with relevant authorities were mentioned by most of the participants. On the same vein journalists had an opportunity to propose solutions and possible recommendations to the difficulties they normally face when covering these topics.
Furthermore, the creation of a network of African journalists specializing in sustainable tourism, capacity building-related activities addressing the media and regular exchanges with tourism stakeholders were some of the ideas shared by the participants. Seen as a sustainable economic sector, UNWTO selected the theme; “empowering tourism destination’s sustainability through innovation.” Gomet- Sobrino who is also a former journalist and a radio personality said the world is eagerly waiting to be taught and the media should as such be the gateway to proper reporting and transferring of knowledge.
As the leading international organization in the field of tourism, UNWTO promotes tourism as a driver of economic growth, inclusive development and environmental sustainability and offers leadership and support to the sector in advancing knowledge and tourism policies worldwide.