Eight United Kingdom-based journalists have recently briefed the Minister of Tourism and Cultural Affairs after their nine days tour in Sierra Leone.
Reports say, the 9-day fact-finding mission by the UK press on the potential of Sierra Leone’s tourism went well and on 12th April, 2019, they subsequently briefed the Minister of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, Memunatu Pratt about their findings.
The team was led by Tim Henshall, Chief Executive/UK representative of Kamageo Africa Destination Marketing. Fatmata Abe-Osagie, Ag. General Manager of the National Tourist Board Sierra Leone, said that the presence of the UK team of journalists in the country is due to the ministry’s participation in the World Travel Mat.
She said that after spending 9-days in the country, viewing the country’s potential, the UK team will disclose their findings and recommendations for the development of the industry, with a view to making it attractive in the international tourist market.
On behalf of the group, Tim Henshall, said Sierra Leone is a country that is full of riches, but as a nation, it has not been utilising them, stressing that the tourism sector has the potential to meet the world market. Whilst recognising the problems faced in the sector, he maintained that to meet the standards of the World Tourist Market, there is the need for improvement of the overall tourist infrastructure, quality of services in the sector and improvement of the provincial option.
He said this visit has a great impact in the country’s tourism sector, as they are the forerunners of people who want to come to Sierra Leone, but who depend on what the team shows them about the country.
He expressed their willingness to sell Sierra Leone in the International Tourist Market. Minister Pratt explained, “Over the years the focus of Sierra Leone has been on mining of diamonds and gold.
Yes, we accept that we are having revenue from those sectors, but we have found out that the tourism sector should have been one of the areas that could have responded to things like youth unemployment, skills development, private sector development, trade and investment and developing our basic culture of patriotism and national cohesion.
These are the things we have realised,” she added. To rebrand the country’s tourism sector, Pratt said plans are underway to implement Eco-Tourism Policy, establish Eco-Villages, Eco-Lodge, and Green Tourism.