In its continuous strides to put Sierra Leone tourism on good footing, the Ministry of Tourism and Cultural Affairs and The National Tourism Board had the first stakeholders meeting for the tourism sector, at the Ministry of tourism conference room. This meeting was called to abreast the private sector partners on developments and approaches for the development of the sector.
The Deputy Director of Tourism called the meeting to order, while the Permanent Secretary chaired the meeting, highlighting the purpose of the gathering, at the end he introduced the newly appointed Acting General Manager- for National Tourist Board. He further explained that the new direction has a lot to do in terms of sectoral reform, he said that could be possible if the private sector can give their fullest support to the ministry, national tourist board and the government.
The newly appointed Acting General Manager Madam Fatmata, stated the relevance of the private sector to Sierra Leone’s tourism. That its high time they should be onboard and follow correct practices and law abiding especially with tourism codes of ethics that will once list Sierra Leone as tourist destination.
The Director of Tourism Mr. Mohamed Jalloh, first thanked the participants for showing up. He further said the call for the meeting is in Continuation to the new direction using Tourism to diversify the economy, he drew the attentions of the audience that Tourism is a pivot tool, to revive the sector to reach key bench marks in total development in the tourism sector. This he assured the audience has a better and stronger multiplier effects on economies and families direct and as well indirect benefits, so the Director encouraged the owners of establishment to stay up with payments.
Mr. Sylvanus Nyandemor, Roy hotel made his concerns as investor: they are up to task in payments of taxes but their problems with electricity and water facilities is poor, and this cry has been long, but they now hope the new minister will spare head these challenges once and for all. He concluded by raising his strong points on the alarming fees of EPA on hotels, should be looked into for further deliberation on Clarification of these fees especially the consultancy fees.
Mr. James Marka congratulated the new Minister and the acting General Manager, he advised the Minister to pay attention on robust marketing to attract the new markets and maintain old ones. He ended up pinned pointing on Destination cost to be looked into if we are considering a quick change.
Madam Isha Bangura a seasoned developer, throw lights on beach ambiance especially with structures and hygiene that are not keeping up with measures, but she called on the Minister to step up with correct code of practices, to monitor these structures to follow the rules.
The Acting General Manager au-fait the participants, that with the correct leadership and vision she implored them to hold firm and be collaborative in ensuring they work and walk on smooth path.
The Minister of Tourism Dr. Memunatu B.Pratt and the Acting General Manager National Tourism Board Madam Fatmata called on all tourism stakeholders these includes: Hotels, Restaurants, Bars, Casinos and similar related establishments countrywide at the Ministry of Tourism and Cultural Affairs Kingharman Road Freetown. The meeting with these key stakeholders, centers around the way forward as in encouraging them the Acting General Manager built the foundation for the meeting, stating out the role of the private sector and the Government taking the right approach in addressing the challenges in the tourism sector.
Finally, the Minister said that the lack of sector governance, is a real challenge poised, but this time she assured that the road map is clear and robust actions with line ministries on visas, ticketing, environment, water and sanitation, electricity and others will soon be earnest. But in doing these responsibilities she called on owners to pay dues, which will serve as engine to fast tract the above issues, the Minister emphasized that defaulters must comply within 14 working days ultimatum which ends on the on the 5th of July 2018.