It is now crystal clear that, the Tourism Industry if not the sole but a key pillar and a major player for the transformation of Sierra Leone to that glorious status of middle income country by 2035, an agenda that has been set by government.
His excellency the president, Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, knowing the importance of the tourism industry towards the development of the country placed tourism under pillar one of the blueprint document, *’the agenda for prosperity’* , it virtually speaks volume that, Tourism is the *Panacea for the woes of this Country and its Economy*.
Apparently, the World Bank has approved the sum of ten million United States Dollars($10M) for the sustainable development growth of the tourism industry which is meant for all institutions ingrained in the tourism industry which includes both public and private sectors.
After Wednesday’s first encounter which saw the preamble and introduction of the rigorous procudures involved in the implementation of the $10M project by the World Bank Team, Thursday 7th September at the new office of the World Bank, Spur Road, Wilberforce in Freetown saw participants drawn from all tourism related institutions delve in to sober deliberations and intensive dialogue on how to ensure that, this mega project becomes one of the most successful implemented project ever in the history of not only the tourism industry but the country as a whole or maybe the world over.
However, for the sake of posterity and gratitude, it behooves Sierra Leoneans to note that, for this project to come thus far, the Ministry of Tourism and Cultural Affairs (MTCA) and the National Tourist Board of Sierra Leone (NTB) have been the trailblazers and pioneers in championing this novelty project which will benefit not only the two aforementioned entities but all other institutions related to the tourism industry and the entire country.
Furthermore, the Resource Mobilization Officer of the National Tourist Board of Sierra Leone, Madam Madonna Momoh, played a pivotal role towards the facilitation and actualization of this project and she has also attended both meetings (Wednesday and Thursday’s meetings) at the World Bank Office.
Thursday’s meeting was intensive and exhaustive, the Director of Tourism, Mr. Mohamed Jalloh represented the Ministry of Tourism and Cultural Affairs while the Deputy General Manager of the National Tourist Board of Sierra Leone, Madam Fatmata Abe-Osagie led a team of senior staff members of her institution including Mr. Umar Woody, Planning and Product Development Manager, Madam Madonna Momoh, Resource Mobilization Officer and Mr. Mohamed Alieu Bah, Communications Assistant Officer all of which made meaningful contributions towards the proper implementation of this ground breaking record project.
Madam Fatmata Abe-Osagie, a woman who has been in the tourism industry for over a decade (14 years to be specific), thus a reservoir of knowledge in terms of tourism, updated the World Bank Team and the entire gathering on contemporary happenings in the tourism industry, expounded on the benefits of the $10M towards the tourism industry, proffered recommendations on prudent expenditure of the said amount and also lamented on the key challenges the industry is grappling with.