MEDIA AS A TOOL FOR PROMOTING ARTS AND CULTURE THROUGH TOURISM DEVELOPMENT IN NIGERIA
1.1 Background of Study
A significant global industry, tourism is now growing quickly both in developed and developing nations. The tourism sector, which includes travel in general and tourism, accounts for 10.2% of global GNP and is projected to increase by 3.6% in 2017. (WTTC, 2016). Its share of the international economy has been growing dramatically, and it is doing so faster than the output level worldwide (United Nation world tourism organization report, 2005).
However, the majority of popular tourist destinations offer fewer activities than anticipated (WTR, 2007). Promotion and development efforts should be carried out concurrently to improve the benefits of the sector as a whole. This is in line with utilising already existing sites, and developing countries like Nigeria should take into consideration potential tourist attractions. Using solely the tourism resources already available, according to Ashley et al. (2001), is one of the major obstacles for tourism to establish itself as a significant economic industry in developing nations. Government regulations and donor-funded tourism development initiatives that work to create brand-new potential tourist destinations are essential. Contrary to popular belief, developing countries can succeed without relying on aid if various tourist stakeholders collaborate to devise least expensive promotion and development methods (Andreea & Ioncica, 2012).
Media are essential for frontline investments for sustained globalized tourism development indicators, claims Benson (2013). In order to promote peace, security, and sustainable development, the tremendous effects of media communications can cause profound shifts in the attitudes and behaviors of the major players in local, national, and international tourism. The benefits of tourism would bring about significant and historic changes in the nation’s social, cultural, economic, political, and environmental spheres. Without a question, the media play a critical role in society’s growth and in promoting culture. The media operates inside the framework of society, and just as the media cannot function properly without the supportive environment that society provides, neither can society function well without the media.
“The media have a significant role in forming our opinions and perceptions. These are conscious industries that offer methods of perceiving and understanding the world rather than just basic information about it (Orlu, 2013, p.124). Wilson (2006), p. 80, states;
The external environment provides the communication industry with a variety of inputs, including human, professional, and technological. The creation of media products uses these inputs. The communication industry must reflect socially accepted norms and promote highly regarded ones. In other words, it must be consistent with or reflect the societal norms in regard to economics, ethics, culture, and politics.
According to Okunna (1999), the media must present programs that are in line with the ideals of the society in which they operate.
Due to the fact that “media are very important in the production and transmission of culture,” it is crucial for the media to highlight and promote cultural practices that will not only endear the populace to such culture but also draw them in such a way that they will travel to the state where such cultural promotions are highlighted.
Chieme et al. (2017) state that cultural tourism refers to people traveling from one place to another in order to partake in such cultural activities. Onijah-Obi It is further explained in (Chuku, 2011, p. 85) that:
The locations of cultural diversity are where tourism and culture are most fascinating tourists are drawn and encouraged to leave their home communities for another in order to unwind, observe, and learn because of this cultural and value difference. Cultural tourism focuses on the diverse cultural history of a people, including its dances, music, traditions, clothing, festivals, historical landmarks, artwork, and handicrafts. Chuku (2011, p. 85) pointed out that cultural heritages need to be packaged by the populace in order to be sold. Members of the society participate in the dissemination of their culture in some societies. The ability of the media to communicate with a sizable, diverse, and dispersed audience makes it evident that they are one of the members of society active in the dissemination of their culture.
In the modern world, millions of people’s cultural experiences are shaped and supplied by the media, which are important cultural carriers and instruments (MacBride et al, 1981). The Osun Oshogbo Festival is one of these cultural events that the media may actively promote. The Osun people’s rich and diverse culture is displayed during the Osun Oshogbo Festival. So, how much Nigeria can promote tourism depends critically on the role of the media.
1.2 Statement of problem
Nigeria still has a lot of issues, despite the potential and chances for tourism development there. The media’s involvement in the expansion and development of the tourism sector is one of the main issues. Although the media has played a significant role in the growth and development of numerous sectors, more has to be done for the tourism sector. The media must actively promote programs that are in line with the ideals of the society in which they operate and capable of fostering the nation’s voluminous cultural legacy. The media play a crucial role in promoting the growth of tourism in Nigeria and serve as effective vehicles for the dissemination of culture.
Together with the media’s proactive reporting on concerns related to tourism growth, there is a problem with the constant encouragement and support given to everyone to protect their culture. In order to serve the interests of the ruralities, there is a need to further strengthen arts and culture through the provision of community media.
The need for individuals to understand the significance and advantages of tourism is another significant issue, and the media can undoubtedly play a leading role in providing this information. The current level of tourist education and awareness among Nigerians is problematic. They can accomplish this by projecting tourism-related activities. The issue of advocacy reporting on Osun Osogbo festival cultural events and other cultural heritage has stifled the growth of the tourism industry. The general public must be aware of cultural events like the Osun Osogbo Festival and enable others the chance to take advantage of the benefits that come with tourism. Therefore, it’s crucial that the media, especially the new media, promote and highlight the rich cultural heritage of the nation, such as the Osun Oshogbo Festival, in order to both endear the populace to such culture and draw them in such a way that they travel to the state where such cultural promotions are displayed.