NEW MINISTER FOR THE MINISTRY OF TOURISM AND CULTURAL AFFAIRS-
MRS. MEMUNATU B. PRATT
The Ministry of Tourism and Cultural Affairs welcomes its new minister in the person of Mrs. Memunatu B.Pratt. Mrs. M.B. Pratt is a professional and long standing lecturer with correct track records in Fourahbay College, University of Sierra Leone, who has a proficient academic background in Research and Peace Building and conflict Studies. She served as Head of Department for Peace and Conflict Resolution or Management Department. Over the years of serving in the University she also served in various relevant capacity as: Visiting Professor – University of Hiroshima for two years as External Researcher. She furthered her studies in PhD Research-Department of Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Bradford (UK), Master’s Degree with Thesis M.A Library Information and Communication Studies (Fourah Bay College). While serving as Head of department she was opportuned to gain Affiliations as Executive Board Member – The Sierra Herald, Board Member – WANEP-SL. Chairperson Sierra Leone Peace and Cultural Monument, Ministry of Defense and the State and Ministry of Tourism, Monuments and Relics Commission, Vice-Chairman and founding Board Member, ICCO West Africa Regional Board, EU Headquarters, Bamako Mali, Chairperson – Rehabilitation and Development Agency (RADA) Bo Southern Region, Commonwealth Fellow – Distinguished Awardee from the Commonwealth Foundation. Dr. MB. Pratt also served in the capacity as Board Chair for Fambul Tok International. Reaching these heights and services rendered, His Excellency Dr. Rtd. Brigd. Julius Maada Bio thought it wise and fit to appoint Dr. Pratt to fully serve in his government as the Minister of Tourism and Cultural Affairs.
Upon this, it is now crystal clear that the mantle of responsibility is incumbent upon her to ensure the vision of the president is achieved looking at the highlighted points in the presidential Manifesto, which is a priority to increase revenue, create opportunity for jobs, and raise the tourism and destination profile, to attract tourists and also increase occupancy levels of hotels.
Despite the high potential in the Tourism sector, the tourism sector remains one of the most underdeveloped and underfunded sectors of the economy. The critical challenges include lack of a Master Plan for the development of the sector, weak policy and regulatory framework, limited human capacity, poor, infrastructure as well as unfavorable country image.
In the New Direction, the Minister has been assigned with the duties of laying down proper strategic objectives to increase revenue, provide jobs and promote the cultural heritage of the country.
The specific policy actions will cover:
- Specifically, improving policy and legal environment will entail reviewing and upgrading all tourism-related laws, regulations and policies to ensure consistency with regional and global best practices, developing a master plan for the tourism sector and establishing a Tourism Information Register (TIR).
- Must also ensure the administration rehabilitate and develop historic and cultural sites, establish Public-Private Partnership to manage historic sites, at designate tourist attraction areas and provide them with the needed infrastructure including water, electricity and communications and develop tourist infrastructure (such as beach resorts, eco villages and research camps).
- In the area of promoting marketing and improving the international image of Sierra Leone, the administration will (i) develop an improved web portal for tourism promotions (ii) participate in international tourist activities and (iii) collaborate with Embassies/Missions to showcase the tourist sites and potentials.
- In developing skills in tourism, the administration will conduct skills audit of the tourism sector, prepare a Labour Force Development Plan for the Tourism Sector, and upgrade the existing training school for hotel Management, support private colleges pursuing tourism-related disciplines in terms of materials, equipment and staffing and introduce higher education programmes for tourism training.
- Finally the diversification of tourism products will include adventure tours such as safaris, jungle tours, mountain trekking and support local entrepreneurs to promote tourism-based activities to link with the rural economy, harvest seasons, wildlife, farming practices, art, culture and religions.
On this note, the Management and staff of the National Tourist Board humbly welcome the new Minister and the Board will give all the necessary support in executing these responsibilities. Wish you all the best in this new endeavor.