“Put people front and centre!” was the core message as UNWTO brought together global branding experts, journalists and content creators to rethink narratives around tourism communications.”
Against the backdrop of the 118th session of its Executive Council in Punta Cana, UNWTO hosted a special Thematic Session. Alongside assessing the evolution of tourism communications, the Session saw leading experts explore current and future opportunities for more effectively portraying tourism as an essential driver of development, both in traditional media and on content platforms.
“New Narratives in Tourism”
With tourism high on the political agenda like never before, UNWTO is leading the shift in tourism communications, with a greater focus on the sector’s unique power as a driver of development and opportunity. Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili said: “We have made huge progress over the past few years in making tourism’s relevance more visible and more appreciated, by governments and by tourists themselves. But we need to make it even clearer. For this reason, UNWTO is working to build a new narrative around tourism as a force for development and transformation.”
The Thematic Session offered a platform to connect content creators with editors and new media platforms, with UNWTO as the bridge between the two.
Branding and Media Experts Lead the Change
- Representing the global leader Interbrand, Pedro Zarzalejos, Associate Director, Strategy and Borja Borrero, Executive Director Iberia, EMEA & Latam charted the evolution of branding and analysed how this has impacted the tourism sector.
- Michael Collins, Founder and Managing of Travel Media gave expert insights into the changing relationship between Destination Management Organizations (DMOs) and editors, journalists and content creators.
Instagram and Meta: Keeping Content Relevant
UNWTO first partnered with Instagram in 2021, firstly to help lead recovery from the impacts of the pandemic and then to empower destinations to embrace digital storytelling. In Punta Cana:
- From Instagram, Ernest Voyard, Director of Public Policy, noted how creators are increasingly moving beyond aspirational travel-related content and instead focusing on issues around sustainability and full immersion in destinations.
- From Meta, Sharon Yang, Director of External Affairs, noted how the platform has seen a shift towards creators providing informative tourism and travel-related content, again moving away from more aspirational images and films.
Tourism on the Agenda: The Case of Dominican Republic
Leading journalists and editors from the Dominican Republic assessed how to place tourism on the editorial agenda at every level.
- Leading the discussion were Director of Diario Libre, Inés Aizpún, Director of El Día José Monegro, and the Ambassador of the permanent mission of Dominican Republic to UNWTO Aníbal de Castro
- The panel highlighted the importance of diversifying the main messaging, with a focus on everything from film and TV tourism to gastronomy tourism
Content Creators: Raising Awareness
To round out the session, UNWTO welcomed leading content creators to give their expert insights into changing trends in tourism-related content: Instagram Creators Chloé Léger and Marion Payr, provided their experiences from the Dominican Republic from the point-of-view of tourism and travel-creators. They noted:
- A growing interest in content linking tourism with issues including women’s empowerment, community development and wildlife conservation.
- An opportunity for creators to influence the travel choices and behaviours of tourists, in particular in influencing younger consumers to travel more responsibly and ethically