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The need for a tourist destination to properly coordinate its marketing communications strategies to achieve a clear, consistent and competitive message about itself and its product has become issue of concern to every result driven destination. The study is aimed at examining the role of marketing communication on tourist destination of Kaduna State. The objectives of this research are to (i) to explore the role marketing communication plays in tourism development. (ii) to identify factors affecting marketing communication in tourism development. (iii) to identify the marketing strategies that will aid communication in tourism. This research adopted a survey method with well-structured questionnaires distributed among randomly sampled population, which include tourists found at Gamji and Fantasy parks as well as their staffs. To ensure reliability of this instrument (questionnaire), a test-retest method was adopted to determine its reliability. The face validity of this instrument was also ensured. In analyzing the data, the researcher used descriptive statistical method using items such as frequency and mean. Findings show that respondents strongly emphasized on the importance and role marketing communication plays in marketing tourism in Gamji and Fantasy Park. 100 questionnaires were distributed randomly in Gamji and Fantasy Park. Based on the finding the study recommends that more persuasive and appealing marketing strategies that will have great influence on the tourist choice of destination to put in place by making people within the state, country and even outside the country see reasons why they should visit the destination.
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
In Nigeria and most other African countries, tourism is an emerging sector of our economy and as such, we need to understand its basic concept. Tourism has been defined as travel for recreational leisure, religious, educational or business purposes. The justification for the above definition is found in the facts that a great number of people come from home and abroad to participate in the program annually Hanilier (2005).
Tourism is also the sum of the phenomena and relationship arising from the travel and stay of non-residents and is not connected with any earning activity (Kraft 2005). It is an industry which is based on the visits made by people within and outside the country for the purpose of relaxation, recreation and participation non-routine activities. The destination of tourist centers are often located outside where people live and work. Tourism may also be domestic or international. In domestic tourism, people usually go outside the vicinities to other areas within the country while it is International when it involves movement from separate National unit which has its own political and economic system Kraft et al (2005). Tourism can also be seen as market oriented since it involves spending in the destination.
Marketing is an organizational function and a set of processes for creating, communicating and delivering value to customers and for managing customer relationships in ways that benefits the organization and its stakeholders (Keefe, 2004). Marketing directs the flow of products from the producer to the consumer. Marketing as one of the management functions has numerous contributions to make in tourism development of Kaduna. Marketing is the management function which organizes and directs all business activities towards assessing and converting customer purchasing power into effective demand for a specific product or services to the final consumer so as to achieve the desired profit target or other activities set by the company or organization.
Tourism marketing can be defined as the management process through which tourist organizations identify their selected tourists, actual and potential and communicate with them to ascertain and influence their needs, desires and motivations on local, regional, national and international levels in order to formulate and adapt their tourist products accordingly in view of achieving optimal tourist satisfaction and maximizing organizational goals. Tourism marketing indeed involves discovering what tourists want (Market research), developing suitable tourist services (Product planning) and giving instructions on where they can get the services (Channels of distribution-tour operators and travel agents) so they will receive value (pricing), and the tourist organization will make a profit and attain its goals (Marketability), (Cooper et al, 2008). For proper tourism marketing, communication plays a vital role.
Communication is a process by which one person or an organization conveys meaning from one person to another or from one organization to its public. Communication is a social process for exchanging information and establishing understanding between two or more parties (Gunn 2002).
Marketing communication has been defined as the sharing of information, concepts and meanings about products, services and the organization that sell them by the source and receiver. A more elaborate definition is; marketing communication is targeted interaction with customers and prospects using one or more media such as direct mail, newspapers and magazines, television, radio, billboards, telemarketing and the internet. (Hall 2008)
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The tourism industry has been identified as a lucrative and viable investment. All government, private and public efforts to develop it have not really yielded the desired result. This is caused by a range of factors from inadequate and lack of finance, lack of skilled personnel and management amongst others. The Kaduna tourism destination brand has failed to attract more tourists especially in the year after 2000. Previous researches (Chigora 2016; Ndlovu 2009; Chibaya 2013) have informed that the socio-economic and political environment has been a catalyst to this current state of affairs. There has not been a finalized stand point for sustainable destination branding. According to Konecnik and Gartner (2007), tourism destination branding as a concept does not have a generally accepted framework since its complex in nature.
It is the researcher’s intention to look to what extent the role of marketing communication playsin the destination of Kaduna State a case study of Gamji and Fantasy Amusement Parks and how it can be improved and developed.
1.3 AIM AND OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
The overall aim is to provide qualitative empirical information on the role of marketing communication in tourism destination of Kaduna a case study of Gamji and Fantasy Amusement park. However, the specific objectives are;
I. To explore the role marketing communication plays in tourism development?
II. To identify the marketing strategies that will aid communication in tourism?
III. To identify factors affecting marketing communication in tourism development?
1.4 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The significance of this study cannot be over-emphasized. It will definitely be useful to the tourism industry. It will outline most of the problems that the tourist centers encounter in an attempt to realize their set objectives. It will also improve the service of the staffs and help the consumers to appreciate the service rendered by the management. The study will also help the tourist centers managed by the government which have been performing poorly to determine the reason and apply the suggestions made in this research to improve their profitability.
The result of this study is intended to help improve the role marketing communication in the development of tourism in Kaduna. It will also be useful to future students of marketing and tourism or any person who may use it as a reference while making a research on the said topic or its relation.
1.5 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The research questions will address three fundamental questions;
I. What are the roles marketing communication plays in tourism development?
II. What are the factors affecting marketing communication in tourism development?
III. What are the marketing strategies that will aid marketing communication in tourism?
1.6 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
This research covers the socio-economic aspect of the study area. Various processes are valued as well as factors that have enhanced or hindered the role of marketing communication in the development of tourism. This study will cover a general survey of marketing communication in tourism destinations of Gamji and Fantasy Amusement Parks.
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