A special Thematic Session was held by UNWTO on the occasion of 118th meeting of its Executive Council in Punta Cana. According to a press statement by UNWTO, leading professionals discussed present and future potential for more effectively portraying tourism as a crucial driver of growth, both in traditional media and on content platforms, in addition to evaluating the evolution of tourism communications.
UNWTO says that the session offered a platform to connect content creators with editors and new media platforms, with UNWTO as the bridge between the two. With tourism high on the political agenda like never before, UNWTO is leading the shift in tourism communications, with a greater focus on the sector’s unique power as a driver of development and opportunity.
“We have made huge progress over the past few years in making tourism’s relevance more visible and more appreciated, by governments and by 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,” says Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili.
Branding and media experts lead the change
The session witnessed Borja Borrero, Executive Director Iberia, EMEA & Latam, and Pedro Zarzalejos, Associate Director, Strategy, representing Interbrand, examine how branding has changed through time and how it has affected the travel and tourist industry. The founder and managing director of Travel Media, Michael Collins, provided insightful commentary on the shifting dynamics between editors, journalists, and content producers and Destination Management Organisations (DMOs), says the statement.
The statement says that while from Instagram, Ernest Voyard, Director of Public Policy, noted how creators are increasingly moving beyond aspirational travel-related content and instead focusing on issues around sustainability and full immersion in destinations, from Meta, Sharon Yang, Director of External Affairs, spoke on how the platform has seen a shift towards creators providing informative tourism and travel-related content, again moving away from more aspirational images and films.
In the session, leading Dominican journalists and editors evaluated ways to include tourism on the editorial agenda at all levels. Director of Diario Libre Inés Aizpn, Director of El Da José Monegro, and Ambassador of the Dominican Republic’s permanent mission to the UNWTO Anbal de Castro led the conversation. The panel stressed the need to diversify the primary theme, putting particular emphasis on everything from film and television tourism to culinary tourism, UNWTO adds.
The statement adds that leading content producers were welcomed by UNWTO to conclude the session and provide their expert insights on the evolving trends in tourism-related content. Chloé Léger and Marion Payr, two Instagram creators, shared their travel and tourism-related experiences from the Dominican Republic. They noted that a growing interest in content linking tourism with issues including women’s empowerment, community development and wildlife conservation was registered. An opportunity for creators to influence the travel choices and behaviours of tourists, in particular in influencing younger consumers to travel more responsibly and ethically is also growing.