March 2019

Marketing Sierra Leone through food tourism

By Mohamed Faray Kargbo

As the compelling aroma of the deliciously prepared meal spreads across, so does the message about Sierra Leone National Day.

Even before the official time of the event, people were already waiting. They all came with one resolve, to have a taste of the Sierra Leonean food.

Europeans, Asians, Americans and other African nationals queue up in their numbers to be served the meal from Sierra Leone. The Sierra Leone Stand at ITB had never attracted so much crowd.

From the groundnut soup to the locally-produced rice, ginger drink to the tamarind everything was eaten by the visitors to the pleasure of the National Tourist Board.

“The food is delicious,” remarked one partaker. “I love this and will like to have more.” commented another.

The ingredients in the food made it even more difficult for the visitors to spare the extras. It was a joyful moment for the Minister of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, Memunatu Pratt. She has always maintained that food tourism could be used to get more tourists to visit Sierra Leone.

Sierra Leone has some of the best delicacies and spicy foodstuff that could forge a love relationship between a tourist and the nation. The cuisine from Sierra Leone could attract more tourists than we think.

The ITB Tourism Trade Show attracts over 10,000 visitors annually. Sierra Leone’s participation is part of efforts to attract more tourists to the country.


MTCA and NTB woo investors and Group Tour Professionals at ITB Berlin

The National Tourist Board of Sierra Leone continues to woo investors and tourism experts from across the world to start doing business with Sierra Leone.

On Thursday March 7, 2019 in Berlin, Germany, officials of the Ministry of Tourism and Cultural Affairs together with the Sierra Leone Embassy in Berlin held key meetings with top tourism marketing executives, documentary filmakers and hospitality training experts.

The discussions led to revelations that Sierra Leone like many other West African countries were not attracting too many tourists because of weak marketing.

Documentary Film-maker, Sascha Gottschalk of Filmemacher Deutschland had this to say.

“You need to show how beautiful your country is. Most Western tourists only think about East Africa when it comes to tourism in Africa. West African countries need to market the beautiful things they have to attract those tourists.”

The acute lack of expertise among staff in the hospitality industry in Sierra Leone is militating against the growth and development of the sector.

Minister of Tourism, Memunatu Pratt is ready to bring sanity in that direction.

During discussions with Bok Lardner of Terenga College, Nigeria, the need to train and develop professionals in the hospitality industry was laid bare.

Cobra Verde, Group Tour Expert also assured the Minister of Tourism that they were prepared to assess the touristic potentials of Sierra Leone with a view to marketing her to tourists.

The Acting General Manager of the National Tourist Board, Madam Fatmata Abe-Osagie said her institution would work round the clock to improve tourism in Sierra Leone.

Director of Tourism, Mohamed Jalloh and the Director of Culture, Foday Jalloh made brilliant interventions that would translate to national progress in the area of tourism and cultural affairs.

The ITB Trade Market continues on Friday March 8, 2019.

Mohamed Faray Kargbo
Education and Outreach Unit
Monuments and Relics Commission

Sierra Leone: Hawaii in Africa

Sierra Leone: Hawaii in Africa


At its press conference at ITB Berlin 2019 the West African country was in a confident and buoyant mood. Following political unrest and a serious Ebola epidemic in the period up to 2016, tourism has now become an increasingly important economic factor. Tourism Minister Dr. Memunatu Pratt invited travellers as well as investors to visit his country and participate in the emerging tourism sector. The country intends to focus on the wildlife and eco-tourism market. “In Sierra Leone, as well as elephants and the pygmy hippopotamus, visitors can find innumerable bird and ape species“, said Memunatu Pratt. In addition to wildlife and eco-tourists, beach holidaymakers and water sports enthusiasts will get their money’s worth too“, added Memunatu Pratt. “There is a reason why Sierra Leone is known as ’Hawaii in Africa’.

Ambassador M`Baimba Lamin Baryoh added that the West African country can be considered politically stable now, and safe. “Sierra Leone is de facto the third-safest country in Africa, and the capital Freetown is the safest in West Africa“, he said. “And safer than Berlin”, he added with a smile. The fight against corruption was so successful that investors were finding Sierra Leone an attractive proposition too.

M`Baimba Lamin Baryoh also stressed that Sierra Leone’s new government under President Julius Maada Bio – who has been in office for ten months – wanted to make sure that flights to the West African country would become cheaper in future.

Antje Hennecke-Lückingsmeier


Hall 21.a, Stand 117

Press contact: Jens Frenzel, KPRN Network GmbH


Tel.: +49 (0) 30 – 240 477 1815

photo credit: Sierra Leone National Touristboard


Order of the Rokel designation, chimpanzee named Sierra Leone’s national animal and visa on arrival are announced


Images from all events at credits in file names

Click here for destination images


Freetown, Sierra Leone, March 4, 2019 – Sierra Leone honored Dr. Jane Goodall (DBE, anthropologist and UN Messenger of Peace), the world’s foremost expert on chimpanzees, during her three-day visit to the country this past week, with three major announcements – first,  bestowing the country’s highest honors on Dr Jane Goodall; second, the announcement of changes in the visa policy to allow for visas on arrival; and third, the declaration of the Western Chimpanzee as the National Animal of Sierra Leone. These announcements coincide with the 27th anniversary of the founding of the Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary of which Jane Goodall played an instrumental role.


Announcement #1 – The Order of the Rokel

The Order of the Rokel, Sierra Leone’s highest and most prestigious decoration, is awarded to those in Sierra Leone who have made valuable contributions to the country. The award was presented to Dr. Jane Goodall on February 27th in recognition of her diligent and committed work to the Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary and the conservation of the biodiversity in the country. Tacugama is Sierra Leone’s first and only sanctuary and it is located just 30 minutes from the capital, Freetown. The sanctuary plays a critical role in protecting the country’s rich biodiversity, two of Freetown’s main water catchments and the critically endangered western chimpanzees.

“What an honor, I am truly, truly humbled. I don’t really feel I deserve this, but I want to assure you that I will do my level best to do everything I can do help conservation in Sierra Leone,” said Dr. Jane Goodall upon receiving the honor.“ I am committed to doing what I can in Sierra Leone. You have wonderful forests that people from around the world would be excited to visit. I thank you for this. It is very special to me. It’s very moving. Thank you.”


“The honor is yours and you deserve this particular Order. Thank you very much for your hard work and dedication around the world,” said H.E. Julius Maada Bio, President of Sierra Leone. “I am a conservationist. I promise that I will do my best to support wildlife protection. Thank you so much for accepting our honor.”


Announcement #2 – Visa on Arrival

Dr. Jane Goodall’s visit comes at the perfect time as Sierra Leone prepares to reintroduce itself on the world tourism stage. Wildlife tourism, conservation, and sustainability are taking top billing on the global tourism stage and Dr. Jane Goodall’s stature as a world-leading-conservationist provides an important global platform for Sierra Leone’s growth as a new tourism destination.


As a first step towards its re-emergence as a tourism destination, Sierra Leone is launching a new visa on arrival and eVisa system making it much easier to visit the destination.


Dr. Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh, Vice President of Sierra Leone announced the new visa system at a State Dinner at the President’s residence in honor of Jane Goodall this past Wednesday night.


“We are working towards putting infrastructure in place to declare Sierra Leone a visa-free country which means so many people around the world can just jump on a plane and come to Sierra Leone and get a visa on arrival. This country does not have a lot of foreign Missions across the world so the best way you can encourage tourists, business people and investors to come is to make things easy for them. We are also looking at instituting an eVisa system which means you could sit down in your home and apply for your visa electronically to come to Sierra Leone. We are investing in infrastructure.”

“[Tourism] means a lot for the future of Sierra Leone,” continued Dr. Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh. “We see it as an entry point for rebranding Sierra Leone. We want to send a strong signal to the world that Sierra Leone is open for business and also for tourism. We see the tourism sector as one of the vehicles to drive diversification of the economy. We see that it is able to stimulate growth and also build an economic base that offers jobs for boys and girls across the country.”

The World Bank who supported the event as part of their commitment to inclusive and sustainable development, drew attention to the clear linkages between conservation and economic development. Gayle Martin, Country Manager of the World Bank gave several examples of countries that have transformed their tourism sectors with good conservation practices and encouraged Sierra Leone to follow suite.

Minister of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, Memunatu Pratt, added, “I want to declare today the birthday of tourism industry in Sierra Leone.”


Announcement #3 – Chimpanzee Designated as Sierra Leone’s National Animal

Sierra Leone is home to one of the largest western chimpanzee populations in the world. They are the flagship species for tropical forests and woodland areas and play a key role in maintaining the health and diversity of their ecosystems. Their decline, and potential extinction, may precipitate the decline of other culturally, economically and /or ecologically important species and the ecosystem in which they live. Dr. Jane Goodall’s work with chimpanzees and Tacugama has had a huge and positive impact on saving the chimpanzee and the chain reaction that brings.


For that reason, Sierra Leone, in a special ceremony held at Freetown’s Bintumani Conference Centre this past Thursday evening, has named the chimpanzee the National Animal of Sierra Leone. Minister of Agriculture Dr. Joseph J Ndanema made the announcement stating, “Chimpanzees are part of Sierra’s Leone’s cultural heritage…as such, we have a moral duty to conserve their legacy so that we can share it with future generations. On this note, with concurrence from other ministries, departments and agencies and with the endorsement from His Excellency the President, I as Minister of Agriculture, hereby declare the western chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes verus) as the National Animal of Sierra Leone.”

It is expected, with this new designation, the positive role chimpanzees and their habitats play in providing direct and indirect benefits to local communities will greatly increase.  It is also hoped that Jane’s visit will showcase the country’s sustainable tourism offerings and increase awareness of the need for conservation of these critically endangered species.


Also announced was that HE Fatima Jabbe-Bio, First Lady of Sierra Leone, will become a Patron of Tacugama further emphasizing the administration’s commitment to conservation and the special place Tacugama holds in the tourism fabric of the country.


At the British Council this past Friday, Freetown Mayor Yvonne Aki-Sawyer addressed 300 children who marched from the Youyi Building to the Cotton Tree and then onwards to the British Council waving signs in support of Jane Goodall and conservation efforts across the country. Dr. Jane Goodall inspired the children with stories of her childhood, and officially launched ‘Roots and Shoots Sierra Leone’ – a program that seeks to inspire an interest in conservation from an early age. Roots & Shoots Sierra Leone will be sponsored by UNICEF.


For more information, contact: The National Tourist Board of Sierra Leone or


About Sierra Leone

With its palm-fringed beaches, breathtaking mountains, tropical rain forests and vibrant culture, Salone is one of West Africa’s most alluring destinations. The true African Sierra.

About Jane Goodall Institute

The Jane Goodall Institute (JGI) is a global community conservation organization that advances the vision and work of Dr. Jane Goodall. By protecting chimpanzees and inspiring action to conserve the natural world. JGI improves the lives of people, animals and the environment. Founded in 1977 by Dr. Jane Goodall, JGI makes a difference through community-centered conservation and the innovative use of science and technology. JGI works closely with local communities around the world, inspiring hope through the collective power of individual action. Through Roots & Shoots, JGI’s youth-led community action and learning program, young people in nearly 80 countries are acquiring the knowledge and skills to become compassionate conservation leaders in their own backyards.

Marketing Sierra Leone at the ITB Berlin 2019

The National Tourist Board of Sierra Leone is currently marketing the country at the International Tourismus Borse (ITB) in Messedamm, Berlin.

The leading travel trade show brings together thousands of professionals from across the world to network, share ideas and catch up with trends in the industry.

Led by the Minister of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, Memunatu Pratt, the delegation has started marketing the country to the world.

Sierra Leone to participate in ITB Berlin Trade Fair and Exhibition

Sierra Leone will participate in the world’s leading travel trade show in Berlin, Germany.

The International Tourismus Borse (ITB) which takes place from the 6th-10th March 2019 attracts professionals in the travel industry from across the world.

Sierra Leone’s Minister of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, Madam Memunatu Pratt has expressed determination to change the negative perception that the international community has formed about Sierra Leone.

Peter Altmaier, the German Federal Minister for Economic Affairs is expected to open ITB Berlin 2019.

A Special Day, Sierra Leone Day would be used to celebrate Sierra Leone in Germany. It promises to be an unforgettable day.

Officials from the Ministry of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, the National Tourist Board, Monuments and Relics Commission and the private sector are participating in the events.

Full highlights of the Show will be brought to you as events unfold.

The National Tourist Board of Sierra Leone is tasked with the responsibility of marketing Sierra Leone to improve and promote tourism.

Mohamed Faray Kargbo
Education and Outreach Unit
Monuments and Relics Commission