To elevate the storytelling prowess of professionals from over 14 African countries, a three-day communications training was held in the breathtaking setting of Victoria Falls, by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) in partnership with the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA).
According to Southern Africa Times, the collaborative effort, spearheaded by Elcia Grandcourt from UNWTO, featured distinguished figures such as Zimbabwe’s Minister of Tourism Honourable Barbara Rwodzi, Deputy Tourism Minister Hon. Tongai Mnangwagwa, and ZTA CEO Winnie Machanyuka.
READ: Africa: Modern, Dynamic Tourism Communications for Africa the main focus on UNWTO Workshop in Zimbabwe
The immersive workshop unfolded against the backdrop of one of Africa’s natural wonders, Victoria Falls, and encompassed a multifaceted approach to enrich participants’ understanding of tourism communication. The itinerary was designed to provide a holistic experience, bridging the gap between traditional practices, wildlife conservation, and the exploration of natural wonders.
The first leg of the journey took delegates to Muzi Village, a community-based project supporting 60 households. Activities ranged from an introduction to African culture and traditions to hands-on experiences like pounding and grinding millet in the traditional way. The Eco Site tour added a layer of environmental awareness, underscoring the symbiotic relationship between communities and their surroundings.
Turning the spotlight to wildlife, the workshop included a visit to the Victoria Falls Wildlife Trust. Here, participants witnessed the center’s dedication to wildlife rescue, rehabilitation, and anti-poaching efforts. Notably, a state-of-the-art innovation center showcased advancements in tracking wildlife abuse and stress, reflecting a commitment to cutting-edge conservation practices.
Nature took center stage at the Victoria Falls Rainforest, where the group engaged in an educational tour through dense woodland vegetation nourished by the falls’ constant spray. The path unfolded with 16 viewing points, offering panoramic perspectives of Victoria Falls on the Zimbabwean side, from the Devil’s Cataract to the Eastern Cataract in Zambia.
The workshop’s learning outcomes were as diverse as the landscapes explored. A key revelation was the art of pitching stories to transcend travel pages and find a place in mainstream media. Participants honed their skills in uncovering deeper, personal narratives that could effectively showcase a destination, offering a richer understanding of the cultural and natural heritage of the African continent.
Reflecting on the success of the training, one participant noted, “The training was extremely successful in aiding those in communication and media professions to tell and frame the African narratives better and to delve deeper into the cultural and natural heritage of our continent.” The sentiment echoed the collective sentiment among attendees, who found immense value in learning from a variety of seasoned professionals, each bringing extensive knowledge and experience to the table.
In an era where nuanced storytelling is paramount, the UNWTO and ZTA collaboration stands as a beacon of progress in reshaping how Africa’s tourism narrative is communicated globally. As participants return to their respective corners of the continent armed with refined skills and a renewed appreciation for Africa’s diverse offerings, the impact of this workshop is poised to reverberate through the media landscape, effectively influencing perceptions of the African tourism experience.