Role Of Media Diplomacy In Driving Destination Competitiveness And The Development Of Tourism In Kenya
Countries have begun recognizing the importance of developing more knowledge-based economic systems to guarantee their economic future. Rapid changes over the last two decades present the media with the great opportunities and great problems. Therefore, due to fierce competition, countries are aggressively displaying or engaging in trade fairs (both local as well as international) in order to woo tourists from the source markets among other fora that give an opportunity to showcase tourism strengths. Countries have come up with various strategies some unique while others generic so as to help project a positive image of a country’s tourism destination. Despite the many researches and studies that have been carried out, there is no publicly known study that gives evidence to the contribution of media diplomacy in the growth of international tourism in various destinations, the study therefore sought to establish the impact of media diplomacy on competitive tourism with specific reference to Kenya’s top 5 source markets. The specific objectives of the study was to establish the role media diplomacy plays in promoting the growth of tourist numbers from Kenya’s key source markets, to establish the various media diplomacy and engagement strategies applied in Kenya’s source markets and establish ways in which countries can position themselves to benefit more from Media Diplomacy to grow tourism and to establish the relationship between the different media strategies and tourism market numbers. This study adopted both exploratory and a descriptive research designs. Both quantitative and qualitative approaches were adopted. The study also applied stratified sampling technique to select a sample size of from the total population of media in the key source markets. It was found that that Media Farm Trips was very impactful strategy in promoting tourism followed closely by 80% of the respondents who indicated that Interviews and Dissemination of press statement were also an impactful strategy. 60% of the respondents rated Media Workshops an impactful strategy, however 20% of the respondents rated distribution of destination info packs strategy as less impactful. The study recommends that more media FAM trips should be organised so as to address tourist several concerns. Media receptions and FAM trips work best as they allow journalists to showcase the country’s tourism product to travellers from first have experience. In the absence of media receptions and FAM trips, media conferences and workshops is possibly the next best option to highlight the country as a tourist destination to journalists.
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