The importance at this point in time to redefine the tourism narrative and further highlight the sector’s role as a force for development and transformation topped the agenda of a special thematic session on the sidelines of the 118th session of the World Tourism Organization’s (UNWTO) executive council in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.
The recent event brought together global branding experts, journalists and content creators who examined the evolution of tourism communications and explored current and future opportunities for a more effective portrayal of tourism as an essential driver of development, both in traditional media and on content platforms.
“We have made huge progress over the past few years in making tourism’s relevance more visible and more appreciated by governments and tourists themselves. But we need to make it even clearer. For this reason, UNWTO is working to build a new narrative around tourism as a force for development and transformation,” said Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili.
The session served as a platform to connect content creators with editors and new media platforms, with UNWTO as the bridge between the two.
Issues discussed include the evolution of branding and its impact on the tourism sector; the changing relationship between destination management organizations (DMOs) and editors, journalists and content creators; ways to keep content relevant on Instagram and Meta; social media trends moving beyond aspirational travel-related content and to issues around sustainability and full immersion in destinations.
At the same time, journalists and editors discussed ways to place tourism on the editorial agenda at every level, the need to diversify the main messaging, with a focus on everything from film and TV tourism to gastronomy tourism.
Lastly, content creators presented changing trends in tourism-related content which include a growing interest in stories linking tourism with issues including women’s empowerment, community development, wildlife conservation and responsible travel.