By STEPHEN KAPAMBWE –
THE first ever Travel Media Association of Zambia has been launched with the aim of enhancing the marketing of tourism to local and international tourists.
The association was launched on Saturday following a two-day conference at Taj Pamodzi Hotel in Lusaka, which attracted journalists from different media institutions in Zambia.
The conference, hosted by the Livingstone International University of Tourism Excellence and Business Management (LIUTEBM) from February 27-28, 2015, was organised in conjunction with the Ministry of Tourism and Arts, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services, Zambia Tourism Board (ZTB), and the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW) of North America.
LIUTEBM vice-chancellor Patrick Kalifungwa paid tribute to the journalists for establishing the association which he said would help promote tourism as a driver of economic growth.
Professor Kalifungwa, who is also president of the Africa Travel Association, praised the journalists for using the conference to gather and enhance information pertaining to the benefits that could be derived from the tourism sector.
He said the association, which should be embraced by all stakeholders in the tourism industry, would focus on travel reporting to market tourism products and services in Zambia.
He urged the association to promote responsible journalism as well as to provide support and development for its members.
“We all believe the association will provide a dynamic and positive interface with tourism stakeholders,” Prof Kalifungwa said.
SATW immediate past president, Beatrice Broda urged the association members to write not only for their respective employers, but also the local and international community via the Internet.
Ms Broda, who is a travel writer, producer and television personality, said travel writers should open their own websites, use social media and master skills of incorporating quality photography and video footage in their writing rather than restrict themselves to text.
The Travel Media Association of Zambia executive comprises Brian Matambo, a TBZ consultant who is the president, while Charles Simengwa from the Times of Zambia is the vice-president.
Angela Chishimba from the Zambia Daily Mail is the secretary and is deputised by Clara Mwamulela from Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC).
The position of treasurer went to Matthews Musukwa from ZANIS, as Bennet Simbeye from Times of Zambia became the vice-treasurer.
Freelance, journalist Sarah Ngwenya is the information and publicity secretary, while Kalonde Nyati from the Zambia Daily Mail is her deputy.
Mwape Mulubwa from ZANIS got the position of membership secretary and is deputised by Ruth Mwale from ZNBC.
The interim president, Mr Matambo called on the members to ensure that Zambia was placed among the leading international tourist destinations in the world.
He said people should start seeing more objective content about local tourism sites on the Internet unlike in the past when very little content about Zambian tourism was available online.
He appealed to the travel writers to be sensitive and patriotic by ensuring that the country stood out in the way tourism was written about and marketed.
The association membership appealed to the Ministry of Tourism and Arts to work with the media in marketing tourism rather than resort to the media only in times of crises.