Implications of Misleading News Reporting on Tourism at the Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

William Mushawemhuka, Gijsbert Hoogendoorn, Jennifer M. Fitchett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The tourism sector plays a major role in the economic development of a number of countries in the global south, particularly southern Africa. One such country is Zimbabwe, which struggles with significant economic hardships and relies heavily on the tourism sector. The Victoria Falls, a key tourism attraction of Zimbabwe on the Zambezi River, was the subject of a plethora of news articles published between November 2019 and January 2020. The media suggested that the world’s largest waterfall had dried up as a result of climate change–induced drought. These reports arose during the dry season and were thus arguably ill founded and downplayed the natural seasonal characteristics of the Zambezi River. This paper presents content analysis of these media articles and the phenomenological qualitative data analysis of interviews conducted with tourism operators in Victoria Falls. Although some of the articles published within this period strived for accurate reporting, some articles claimed that the Victoria Falls was dry, which was inconsistent with experiences of tourism operators. This inaccurate reporting is argued by the tourism operators to have negatively affected the tourism sector and destination image of the key attraction. This paper highlights the need for accurate science-based media reporting on weather, climate, climate change, and the knowledge of the local tourism stakeholders within the tourism sector.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1015-1025
Number of pages11
JournalWeather, Climate, and Society
Volume13
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021

Keywords

  • Africa
  • Annual variations
  • Social Science

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Atmospheric Science

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