In July of this year the government of Liberia received its first ever Tourism Export Strategy developed by The International Trade Centre (ITC).
The creation of this strategy was a three month process where various Liberian tourism stakeholders attended a series of workshops to identify problems in the sector and possible solutions to take it to the next level.
The data from this process allowed ITC to create a roadmap for Liberia tourism sector, and is now being used to further its development.
As the Liberian Tourism industry continues to gain momentum, there is a great need for the world to be exposed to it. In achieving this, a local tour operator, West Tourism Management (WTM), through the support of the Liberian National Tourism Association (LINTA) will be traveling to Lagos, Nigeria to introduce Destination Liberia at The Akwaaba African Travel Market.
Being held from October 30 to November 1, 2016, The Akwaaba African Travel Market is West Africa’s largest International Travel Fair and Tourism Exhibition. In twelve years, Akwaaba has grown to become the most important Africa Tourism marketing platform in the region, drawing attendance from over 10,000 visitors from 20 countries.
The founder of West Tourism Management (WTM) is Hospitality & Tourism Specialist, Chiquita Afuluenu Johnson. WTM is a Liberian based brand and boutique tour operator with the goal of encouraging and promoting Pan-African travel and investment.
Specializing in a variety of travel and tourism services, they are proficient and passionate about highlighting unique and memorable experiences in African destinations, most especially Liberia.
“I attended Akwaaba for the first time last November for networking purposes, and was the only Liberian representative. It was truly an amazing experience,” says Chiquita. “I was overwhelmed about the amount of beautiful African destinations that were exhibiting their tourism products and services, and told myself that next year Liberia would no longer be left out.”
This will be the first year Liberia will be exhibited at Akwaaba in over a decade since its existence. As an exhibitor at Akwaaba, West Tourism Management will be showcasing Liberia’s tourism products and services, which so many are unaware of due its checkered past and lack of positive awareness.
In changing this, WTM has connected with hospitality/tourism entities that they believe in, and have a distinct appeal to capture the attention of the African travel market, currently placed in a US$1.2 billion industry.
These entities have provided the tour operator with their marketing materials, including brochures, fliers, pull-up banners, soft fliers, promotional videos, etc. Once at Akwaaba, WTM will be responsible for distributing materials to attendees, giving testimonials about products and services, and encouraging potential clients of WTM to utilize them on their next trip to Liberia.
“This is truly a great opportunity for our sector,” says Chiquita, who also served as the National Tourism Consultant on the ITC project. “Now is the time for our country to be marketed globally as a beautiful destination with some of the most unique touristic treasures, unmatched culture, and hospitable people one can find. I’m so honored to represent Liberia for the first time ever at this event and thank LINTA for their great support in this venture”
Entities that will be showcased at the West Tourism Management-Liberia booth are Libassa Ecolodge, Wulki Farms, The Royal Grande Hotel, Maryland Guest House, Bella Casa Hotel, Mamba Point Hotel, Sharks Entertainment Inc., Corina Hotel, and Nana’s Lodge.