INTERNATIONAL MEDIA REPRESENTATION AND THE TOURISM SECTOR PERFORMANCE IN KENYA: A STUDY OF CABLE NEWS NETWORK‘S COVERAGE OF KENYA (2011-2015).

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Mass  media  plays  a  very  significant  role  in  the  creation  of  images  and  beliefs  among  its audiences. The media and specifically international media (well-endowed with financial, infrastructural and human resources) covers events in various parts of the world. The depiction of events such as terrorism attacks, general elections and visits by prominent personalities affects the image of the host countries. This study is seeking to examine Kenya‘s international media representation, explore Kenya‘s tourism sector performance from 2011 to 2015 and determine the relationship between international representation of events in Kenya and Kenya‘s tourism sector performance. The theoretical framework used in this study is Constructivism. This theory is suitable for this study as it shows that  core aspects of international relations are socially constructed and learnt. The utility of this theory is showing how ideas, views, norms and images are propagated by media to show the linkages between international media representation of events such as elections, acts of terror and visits by prominent personalities and the influence of the coverage of these events on the tourism sector performance of a country of Kenya. The study also employs descriptive research design to establish the relationship between associated with Cable News Network‘s coverage of events on Kenya‘s tourism sector performance. Data was collected  from  both  primary  and  secondary  sources.  The  findings  of the  study affirm  that international media representation influences the image of a country, either positively or negatively.  Additionally,  the study found  out that  Kenya‘s tourism sector  performance was affected by international media representation and more specifically, Cable News Network‘s coverage of major events from 2011 to 2015 affected Kenya‘s tourism sector performance. In regard to the findings, there is need to for the government through Kenya Tourism Board and Brand Kenya to have a lobbying unit as well as international media relations units to help guide Kenya‘s narrative in the international arena. This should begin with formulation of a comprehensive international media relations policy. This will address the issue of how to deal with distorted facts and have a consistent  narrative. Kenya should significantly improve its security measures because it is the terrorist attacks that brought about the negative coverage by international media in the first place. Addressing the security challenge will go a long way in boosting fortunes in Kenya‘s tourism sector. Kenya should revamp its digital marketing and communication on matters tourism to  counter the narratives and perceptions created by the international media. This way, foreigners interested in visiting Kenya can find positive stories about  Kenya  when they search through the  internet.  The Government  should  also  increase advertising  of the  country on  various  international  media  channels  to  counter the  negative impression created by negative events that  happen in the country while also  educating and informing the world audience that indeed there are great things to see in Kenya.

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