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22.07.2005 Travel & Tourism

Media urged to help promote tourism

GNA

Accra July 22, GNA - Mr. Foster Nyarko, President of the Ghana Tourism Federation (GHATOF), an umbrella organisation of 18 trade tourism associations, on Friday urged the media to create right mental images of Ghana, as a Tourism destination for prospective domestic or foreign tourist.

He said the media have a collective power to make or break Ghana's tourism industry with positive or negative reporting. Mr Nyarko said this when GHATOF met with the media to educate them about the important role tourism played in national development. He said the media needed to focus on effective communications programmes and help stakeholders in the tourism industry to bring back lost tourism revenues.

Journalists must be more circumspect in talking about issues that affect tourism, he Said, as their utterances carry a lot of weight. "This is not to say that the media should undermine the truth reporting on negative issues. Positive negativism could be used when handling tourism issues..." Mr Nyarko said.

He urged various media houses to establish tourism desks or departments and allot space and time to tourism issues and said the need for honest and balanced information on events and situations could influence the flow of tourists in the country.

A joint approach by the public and private sectors of the tourism industry and the media, he said was needed to develop guidelines, training materials and joint actions for improved coverage of issues. Mr. Nyarko announced that there would be the first fair on Ghanaian food and drink in September dubbed: "Eat Ghana, Drink Ghana" and urged the media to be associated with it.

Nana Baah Wiredu, a Tourism consultant, said tourism is not a leisure industry but an economic enterprise which brought hard foreign currencies to a country.

He reiterated the need for the media to help get the right image for tourism in Ghana.

Ms Adjoa Yeboah Afari, President of the Ghana Journalist Association, said the media was looking forward to learn more about tourism to be able to give out good information about the industry. Mr Charles Osei-Bonsu, Deputy Director of the Ghana Tourist Board, who chaired the function, said there was the need to adopt a more action-oriented approach when talking about tourism development. He described the meeting as a healthy development for the tourism industry since the industry thrived on information.

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