Malawi’s government says digital platforms could be one way of promoting tourist destination, as it is cost effective.
The Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism, Mr Cliff Chiunda disclosed this on Monday, during the official opening of a five-day Regional Tourism Organization Southern Africa (RETOSA) Digital Marketing Workshop in Lilongwe.
He said there is an increase in circulation of false and damaging information about destinations and facilities posted on social media or internet news sites.
‘Most of the negative information has damaged destinations, which has taken them a lot of time to recover. There is a need to be ethical in how we use Digital Marketing platforms’ he said.
Chiunda therefore urged all current and potential users of the platforms to first check their facts to ensure that they do not end up damaging the image of the destination or a facility.
He said that in order for Digital Marketing to be effective, there is a need for reliable internet connectivity. He said the Government of Malawi has invested heavily in Fiber Optic Internet infrastructure to ensure that there is uninterrupted Internet connectivity.
Chiunda therefore called upon all operators in the tourism sector to make an effort to have an email address through which they could be reached, to ensure that the sector is not left out of the fast growing virtual market place.
He said the increasing technological advances in the aviation and communication sectors have shrunk the distance and time between tourist destinations and markets.
‘The growing use of information technology through relatively cheaper devices that have internet access, tourism markets have now dramatically shifted from the traditional markets to the virtual market place’ explained Chiunda.
He further added that Digital Marketing has now made it easier, quicker and more cost effective to reach targeted markets, as information is not only sent out but Digital Marketing provides an opportunity to get instant feedback from the receiver of the information.
Representing Women in Tourism, Victoria Kingston said the Digital Marketing will assist Malawi Tourism with the coming in of WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter among other social media platforms. She said during the workshop she is looking forward to attain knowledge about the digital marketing.
Mr. Kwakye Donkor, RETOSA’s Marketing and Communication Director said the workshop technicalities are that one should first understand what digital marketing is all about.
He said the world has changed and consumers are now detecting the pace of marketing and it is able to reach every consumer no matter which part of the world they are.