Media’s contribution to tourism in the developing countries.

In layman’s language, media is anything where something (a message) passes to reach its intended destination.

Mass media is media that is used to reach out to the masses. To reach out to the masses, a message has to first exist or has to be created.

A message is a piece of news or information sent to some one.

A sender is the source of the message; a receiver is its destination (either intended or not intended).

An encoder is anything (or anyone) which (or who) changes a message into a state, which is convenient for transmission.

A decoder is something that converts the message from the encoder’s format to a convenient way, ready to be received by the receiver.

Many of the places in the world have used the media in form of advertising to advance their tourism strategies (and other intentions), but these are very few although the trend is fast rising with the recent use of social media to bring down the worlds strongest and deeply entrenched leaders in Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Tunisia, and revolutions are currently sweeping the Arab world in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, etc despite the suppression.

Many of these countries that have succeeded in the tourism puzzle (and even the socio- political and economic sphere) have used written literature, fiction books and videos to create awareness about these countries.

For example countries like Egypt, Italy (the former Roman Empire), France, spain, England, most of West Africa, South Africa, Ethiopia in the horn of Africa, The middle East and China are tourism superpowers because of their rich history but which I think is not the richest!

Egypt has the ancient Pyramids, Mummies, its rich history since the biblical old testament days about the pharaohs, the roman empire and even today, France has the Legacy of Napoleon, England has its ‘lionheart’, conquests and colonization history as its rich history, China has the temples, Teracotta warriors, the great wall, to mention but a few. The world has come to know about all these things through constant and steady publications, history books and videos that are now very popular in the world.

The most prominent of these books is the bible, which talks about the Romans, and the Middle East, which includes Egypt, Israel, Syria and many other nations of the Old testament although some of the names changed since then (old testament times). But what is important is that the bible is read in the whole world.

Even some of the writings like books about the Greek civilization, Alexander the great have been used in acting some of the movies like Alexander the great, etc.

A very good example is Thailand, which a few years ago invested heavily in subsidizing the performing arts sector leading to the emergence of prominent actors like Tony Jaa (Born to fight, the protector, Ongback, etc).

Recently the Nigeria movie industry has been the latest entrant into the international movie industry with its own stage name (Nollywood) concentrating more on documetaries, and showcasing their rich West African Culture since other genres like comedy, horror, action, etc had already been dominated by the bigger industry players; resulting into the awareness about Nigeria’s potential.

But in contrast, there are many places specifically in East Africa, which would have been one of the best, or even the best tourism attractions in the world.

Since our developing countries including my native Uganda cannot have their own ‘strong’ television stations, it would make a lot of sense if people from those countries could use performing arts and use Nigeria as an example.

Africa has had an overdose of negative publicity in the foreign media, which is unfair, and these many countries used the same media to advance their agendas. Whenever people outside Africa are to think about Africa, they only think about disease, hunger, wars and all the bad things.

Partly some citizens of these African states are to blame for this because they hawk these stories with the intention of getting financial gain through aid to their sham non-governmental organizations and other political ambitions.

But the biggest concern is funding which is needed for the development of the sector and marketing. Once this is done tour to East Africa will increase at a break neck speed.

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