The role of media in promoting the Tourism Industry of Pakistan
By Sijjal Tajwar
In the age of global interdependence due to digital connectivity, tourism has come up to be a massive industry today. Tourism, according to United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) is related to cultural social and economic prospects which include the movement of people from their typical environment to other places for individual or business/proficient purposes. The industry can profess to be the world’s biggest exchange, quickest developing area of economy and best course for socio-cultural linkages. It was recorded that international tourist arrival was 2.28 billion in the year 2019 before the pandemic struck.The rising interest in the sector has brought about many opportunities, mostly for developing countries.
Figure 1 International Tourist Arrival – World Bank
Pakistan possesses an immense potential for tourism because of the ancient relics the land possesses, such as the Gandhara, Harappa and Indus valley civilizations. The northern areas have surreal beauty of their own, from the snowcapped mountains in Gilgit and Azad Kashmir to the valleys of Swat and Chitral, to just name a few. Most of the destination places lie in the rural areas of Pakistan which makes tourism the best way to lift the remote communities and grow Pakistan’s economy as a whole. A Pakistan-based review distributed in February 2020 shows that expansions in the travel industry observably further develop a rural area by and large. A 1% increment in the tourism industry can improve the GPD by 0.051%, 0.26% advancement can be observed in agricultural development, direct foreign investment can go up by almost 2.65% and conceivably decline in poverty by 0.51%. can be seen. However, despite being a potential benefactor, Pakistan has not been given its due privileges and thought and one of the major causes is due to its negative destination Image.
The destination image of a place is a powerful asset for the tourism industry as the tourists are highly impacted by it because it affects their visiting intention. A positive destination image is a significant marker in the vacationer-location relationship and expands the flow of visitors to a location. However, due to security worries in Pakistan, the negative picture was created by worldwide media. Albeit in certain areas of the country, conflict and law and order issues do happen however the reality is vastly different from what the media has shown. This unfavourable picture fosters a critical check to travel to Pakistan for worldwide sightseers and furthermore dis gladdens the neighbourhood vacationers from travelling.
However, because of improved security circumstances and coordinated endeavours to advance the country’s tourism fascination, consistent expansion in the progression of tourists has been noticed. With the progress of COVID-19 circumstance, dispatch of Brand Pakistan, arranged marketing and promotional activities, this number is bound to increase. Pakistani embassies and missionaries abroad, upheld by arrangement of exposure of Pakistan’s image through material leaflets, guides, banners, and DVDs/CDs, digital media, likewise assumes a significant part in the advancement of the tourism industry. Through much effort in the past years mainly through media visitor arrival ratio has increased. The following graph depicts the ratio
Figure 2 Statistics- PTDC
The media can assume a critical part in projecting a positive picture of Pakistan on the world. The promotion thought it will draw in more people to the various exotic places of the country. Media has the power to impact the attitudes and change the discernments emphatically of general society.
Despite the negative image Pakistan has perceived, Pakistani media is now using its assets gradually to promote tourism. Taking into account that Pakistan is as of yet a developing country, and a large number of its individuals actually do not have adequate resources and other conveniences, radio, plays a vital part to play as a channel of mass communication. The content of ‘Radio Pakistan’ programs is pretty much as far-reaching and diverse as the individuals in Pakistan. It continually intercedes to look for development in the day to day environments of the communities that live in the rural areas of the country. Now it is also using its abilities for the promotion of tourism in the shape of podcasts for example on national tourism, Gandhara civilization, Kumrat Valley, Hanna lake and many more. Audio documentaries on Nanga Parbat and other places are also present. The Kaghan Development Authority (KDA) is also in the process of launching a FM radio station to advance the local travel industry and to set up an organization to give updated information to the tourists.
In terms of electronic media, Pakistan has launched its first-ever tourism channel known as ‘Discover Pakistan’. Initiated in March 2021, the channel asserts to promote international and domestic tourism of Pakistan with a slogan “Sab se payara Pakistan” (Pakistan, the best). Broadcasted in high definition the channel live stream is available on Google Play and App Store. Prior to this, for about four years, the channel through social media has been promoting the soft image of Pakistan. A Memorandum of the agreement was signed by the Tourism Development Corporation of Pakistan (TDCP) and Discover Pakistan to advance the tourism industry in Punjab. The MoU was endorsed by TDCP Managing Director Tanveer Jabbar and Discover Pakistan TV Chief Executive Officer Kaiser Rafique. Pakistan Tourism Development Cooperation (PTDC) has been an active department when it comes to tourism promotion through media. Various media commitment has been made to bring issues to light with regards to the Tourism industry in Pakistan. Chairman, Managing Director (MD), and Manager Publicity and Promotions appeared on various TV channels like Hum Tv, ARY News, Express Tv, Dawn Tv and PTV News to promote tourism (PTDC, 2021). Another PTDC website, giving updated data has been created after a long period. Nonstop endeavours are underway to work on the site and give the tourist all the necessary data. An exclusive E-portal would likewise be dispatched which will give a top-notch openness to Pakistan’s vacation spots through a single click. The basic idea of it is to make a one window online solution to gain information about tourist destinations and related information.
The social association of individuals through the web has opened new skylines of chances. By and large, tourists utilize social media and online networks to look for data from users in regard to their likely excursion or to create content identifying with their encounters of visit, as comments, pictures and reviews which help others to know about different places. Social media has also played a big role in the promotion of tourism in Pakistan. According to the annual performance report 2021 of Pakistan Tourism Development Cooperation (PTDC), international and national outreach through social media platforms has been over 8.3 million. The posts and stories that they make to provide awareness about tourism, are over 1700 and they have acquired 74,500 new social media audiences (PTDC, 2021). They have also engaged vloggers and bloggers who have outreach through YouTube of about 10 million users. In 2019 the government has also arranged seminars for the social media influencers to feature the tourism industry and the genuine face of Pakistan globally. Syed Zulfiqar Abbas Bukhari – SAPV1/Chairman PTDC featured the significance of online media and job of web-based media activists in advancing the nation’s delicate picture abroad. MD-PTDC and SAPM additionally had an inquiry answer meeting with the members.
Travel documentaries and films have been a major part in the promotion of tourism. Zabardast – a 2018 film showcased travel diary often amazing free right expedition through the Karakoram range. “Rediscovering Pakistan the – untold tale” was another movie by Moin Khan of NINE international riders who came to explore the magnificent northern area of Pakistan. the travel film called among giants showcased the amazing shots of Deosai National Park, Baltoro glaciers and K2 mountains. The rural areas of Sindh that possess the oldest civilization was also documented titled as “Pakistan is legendary” by Shanakht Studio. An American based production company, compromising of six individual, visited upon the invitation of chairman National Tourism Coordination Board NTCB. They filmed various tourist locations of Pakistan for their Netflix show named: Travel with Love — American Documentary series which reached a global audience.
Figure 3 Zabardast -2018 film
Figure 4 Rediscovering Pakistan – the untold story (short film)
Media campaigns have also contributed a lot to tourism promotion. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government in collaboration with Nestle Pakistan, launched a communication campaign known as ‘TREK’ in Nathiagali to promote tourism in the rural areas. Nestle Pakistan’s obligation to TREK incorporates two main things: A massive awareness mission centering in on Reduce, Reuse and Recycle and a Community Engagement plan which incorporates exercises that will help in countering the issues of waste and contamination. Another campaign known as the ‘Rickshaw Ride Tourism Awareness Campaign’ was initiated under the collaboration of PTDC and Eyebex films. The campaign was done for the awareness of hygiene and cleanliness of tourist spots and was also broadcasted on PTV. ‘Responsible tourism campaign’ run by the Aga Khan Rural Support Programme was also made to promote cleanliness in the region of Gilgit Baltistan by urging the tourist to sustain a healthy environment
Figure 5 Rickshaw diaries – Campaign
Figure 6 TREK communication campaign
Pakistan’s tourism industry has immense potential, thinking about the arrangements to create business openings, improve infrastructure, build capacity, safeguard heritage, and task a positive picture of the country for the world outside. tourism has a direct connection with Pakistan’s economy which can lead to the betterment of rural areas of Pakistan however extensive reforms are needed to understand its importance and take advantage of the opportunity’s tourism can generate. Following are some of the recommendations of how to promote the tourism industry in Pakistan.
Soft Image through mainstream media
In order to promote tourism through media, we need to understand what is causing it not to grow. when it comes to the mainstream media Pakistan has been projected as land that harbours terrorism and is a dangerous place to be. Instead of sensationalizing the news and with the help of ethical journalism we should cover news and focus on promoting a soft image of Pakistan on the mainstream media.
Promotion Through Social media platforms
Social media is the biggest driving force for the promotion of tourism in this era the main platforms include the big three of the online media – Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have been the forerunner in the tourism industry. Despite the fact that these channels have their own crowd, travel is among the most common subjects on every one of them.
Facebook is a big platform where one can connect to diverse an various groups of people. Facebooks Recommendations highlight empowers individuals to share their encounters. It tends to be utilized successfully for travel purposes, to arrive at data concerning what clients are telling
Instagram turned out to be one of the best online media platforms because of its accentuation on visual material. Millennials who are exceptionally active on Instagram can be targeted effectively through this platform in terms of tourism.
While Instagram assumes control over visual material, Twitter acts as a voice. This stage permits to discuss short travel tips and promotions. Despite the fact that Twitter can be utilized for photographs and recordings of image, its real strength is by and large particularly helpful for giving tourist assistance. Other platforms include LinkedIn which huge for B2B, and Snapchat generally utilized by the new generation. Snapchat is another stage that is significant for travel industry advertising system in case of targeting younger people. It is a quickly developing online media channel on which one can share what’s going on, live.
86% of individuals say they’ve become more intrigued by a destination for vacation and travel subsequent to seeing user produced content, makers truly have the ability to rouse activity and direct people to visit places. all significant ROI has been observed when it comes to influencer marketing campaigns bend and is also cost-effective. using this technique to promote tourism would be quite effective
Training media personals
Enhancing the capabilities of media to cover in-depth tourism can be a major factor in the promotion of responsible tourism. This includes training the media personally and introducing them to various tourism issues and terminologies and letting them participate in finding their solutions. Uplifting individuals who work in media sectors to participate and attend different domestic regional and international meetings relating to tourism may help the media employees be more knowledgeable identify issues and solve them
Uplifting people who work in the media to attend and participate in various regional and international meetings which deal with domestic tourism issues. Here, these activities are aimed to help the media employees to identify their role by introducing and monitoring issues related to domestic tourism.
Role of government
Tourism should be given much importance by the government as well. Giving a separate fund to media to promote tourism would be beneficial to acquire new technology. It could be tasked to collaborate with International Airlines and promote Pakistani tourism in terms of brochures posters and using new digital technology. should welcome worldwide online media influencers to to Pakistan for instance vloggers and bloggers so they share their experience on YouTube and Facebook through their video blogs and content that can really portray a positive picture of Pakistan to the west and assist them with diminishing their apprehensions to visit Pakistan. The government in collaboration with International Film festivals should encourage and fund film-makers in Pakistan to promote tourism at the international level.
To sum it up, the tourism industry is considered as the foundation of the economy of any country, especially for developing countries. The industry, on a global level has been recognised to be an income generation sector. Pakistan is perceived as a nation of experience with regular astounding excellence, stylish scenes, rich green valleys and mountains, baffling blue oceans, also, huge deserts. Pakistan offers a wide range of attractions with great objective to work with tourists and yet it has been fruitless in fostering its travel industry. The significant impact of the tourism industry on the country’s economy warrants the need for people inclusion. The direct impact of tourism on uplifting rural areas is a fact that needs to be considered on the highest level and this can be done through the appropriate use of media. In the age of communication and technology, tourism can bolster into a significant driver to lift the economy of Pakistan.