By Chukwudi Ejiomofor,P/H
Federation all of Tourism Associations of Nigeria (FTAN) has hailed Rivers State travel journalists, over the successful outcome of its inaugural meeting that produced the Mr. Akpekwu Christopher Imbufe-led
protem Executive Committee, which has Bunmi Toki Durojaiye, as Vice Chairman, Kingsley Papamie as Secretary, Ken Fekumo, Treasurer and Chijioke Nwamkpa, Financial Secretary.
South South FTAN Vice Chairman, Comrade Piriye Kiyaramo, who commended the peaceful and transparent manner members conducted themselves while choosing their leaders during the inaugural meeting of the Corps, held in the Daily Times Office, Ikwerre Road, Port Harcourt, on Tuesday, 24 November 2020, in Port Harcourt, the Rivers state capital, noted that travel writers generally write about places, and do so in a way that allows the readers to visualize the possible experiences during visits to such tourists sites.
According to Comrade Kiyaramo, travel writing also serves the purpose of a ‘review’ of sorts like “service pieces” intended to encourage the travel and tourism industry, to make readers want to go visit that particular place being written about, to have a first hand experience as a result of the stories that have been told about such a location.
The FTAN South South vice chairman who also doubles as South South Coordinator of travel journalists, informed that a travel journalist generally tells stories involving people that uniquely linked to a particular destination, and does so in a way that relays the facts, pointing out that, “the intent of travel journalism is to encourage a broader view and wider understanding of the world we live in, to make readers want to visit and meet those people”.
“If you want to become a travel journalist, first and foremost, you must love to write. You must be articulate and skilled at communicating. And obviously, you must enjoy traveling, meeting people, researching facts about places and personalities, which enable you in crafting a compelling story from what you learn.
“Travel writers also contribute to the city-branding processes of tourist destinations. Travel journalism boosts tourism development at the grassroots and acts as a place-branding observatory to guide tourists to destination of their choice.
“An itinerant tourist may be unfamiliar with the product (destination and services) unless it is experienced. It is always to be remembered that howsoever good the tourism product may be, the first time visitor is a total stranger to its environs.
“Moreover, it is not necessary that the experience will always be the same for a repeat visitor. Similarly,
what is true of someone else’s experience may not hold good in the case of another. This is because preferences are far too personal”, he said.
He enumerated tourist fancies as an enjoyable destination, with satisfactory accommodation, rich cultural heritage and hospitable locals including frills like a bit of adverture, variety of food, entertainment and some amount of shopping to make the visitors have a good memory of the trip so as to make them want to repeat the visit.
“In other words, a planned holiday, especially for the first time traveller, is a dream. This is where communication in the mode of writing plays an important role. In fact, it is seen that in most of the cases, the write ups influence tourists choices and demands.
“These write ups (in newspaper, magazine, brochure or journal etc.) seem to reassure the tourist about his dream becoming a reality, if not in full measure, all cast to the maximum extent. The level of satisfaction increases if the tourist is also told what to expect and what not to expect at the destination”, Comrade Kiyaramo explained.