Category: News

Idris Elba awarded Brand Ambassador status in Sierra Leone.

Sierra Leone’s President Julius Maada Bio meets Film actor Idris Elba, awards him with a Brand Ambassador Status.

His Excellency President Dr Julius Maada Bio has issued the British Hollywood actor and musician, Idris Elba, with a Sierra Leonean Diplomatic Passport and pronounced him a Brand Ambassador for the small resource-rich West African nation.

During a meeting at the State Lodge on Hill Station, President Bio said that Mr Elba’s visit to Sierra Leone had been long-awaited, saying that he could feel his burning desire to come back home to be welcomed by his country people. He said that the country had gone through a lot with a scarred image, which needed a conscientious effort from everyone to change that perception and create a new narrative.

“We have tried our best to change the narrative but we need more hands on deck. With you, we have a capable hand to join my government in shaping the future of this country – telling the world a new narrative about a Sierra Leone that is ready to grow and a nation that is ready to be the hub for innovation and technology in Africa and a nation that is looking forward.

“We are conferring you a citizenship of this country and to make you a Brand Ambassador of Sierra Leone. We want to tap into your network to be able to tell the world that the little nation they knew for bad things is now a new Sierra Leone. We want to let the world know that Sierra Leone is now ready for business,” he said.

Receiving the passport, Idris Elba said that he was honoured and thankful for the opportunity to become a citizen of his father’s country, noting that it was an honour for his family. He said he had always wanted to come to Sierra Leone and make a mark adding that he was thankful that his career had afforded him and family the ability to come back to Sierra Leone with determination to rebrand the country.

“This is my first visit to Sierra Leone but will not be my last. I will love to bring with me the new energy that President Bio is so focused on. I am very excited for this honour and I want to take this honour to make the President and people of Sierra Leone proud of me,’’ he said.

Elba’s father, Winston Elba, migrated from Sierra Leone to the United Kingdom in the late 1960s where he met with his Ghanaian mother, Eve Elba. He is also a producer and director continually securing his place as one of the most versatile performers in Hollywood. He is a winner of several accolades for his distinguished service in the field of entertainment. In addition to his Golden Globe win, he is the first male actor to receive dual Screen Actors Guild awards in one evening.

 

 

Sierra Leone’s Ministry of Tourism and Cultural Affairs (MTCA) in partnership Visit Sierra Leone (VSL) to end-host world’s largest amateur rally.

Sierra Leone’s Ministry of Tourism and Cultural Affairs (MTCA) in partnership with one of the leading tour operators in the country known as Visit Sierra Leone (VSL) has on December 9th 2019 held a press conference to update the public on plans to host the reputable BUDAPEST-BAMAKO Rally (B-BR 2020) as its final destination.

Held at the MTCA Conference hall in Freetown, Mr Mohamed Jalloh Director of Tourism while chairing the occasion, disclosed that the press was invited to sensitize and prepare public support to ensure Sierra Leone benefits immensely from this charitable adventure, being the final destination country starting from the Hungarian capital, Budapest via Spain, Mauritania and finally into Freetown SL through Kambia/Guinea Border. Also as part of his welcome address, the Director described the opportunity as ” Being the first in its kind in SL” with the tourism vehicular road caravan starting from January 31st 2019 and ending on the 16th February 2019 at the National Stadium where H.E. President Bio is expected to address a host of international tourists from 80 countries. He justified how such huge visit will further enhance the enabling environment to transform the face of Sierra Leone’s tourism sector.

The CEO of VSL, Mr Bimbola Carol facilitator of the said humanitarian adventure, assessed the forthcoming tour as one of the biggest tourism markets for the nation since the end of the decade long civil unrest as he appealed to the media for cooperation to sensitize the country positively, describing them as logistic partners in complementing His Excellency’s tourism-rebranding dream.

Madam Estelle, the Brussels Airline representative remarked that the Airline is proud to be the official sponsor of the B-BR 2020; declining that it’s not a competition but a humanitarian venture to promote sharing of experience, livelihood support and discovery.

Briefing the media on the journey’s background, the lead B-BR 2020 coordinator Mr G. Szabo, recalled his awful flight cancellation experience in Conakry, Guinea in 2004 due to plane crash forcing him to an alternative road drive back home in Hungary. He delightfully chronicled the massive increase in the number of participants in the said African tour from 100 in 2005 to 700 in 2020. Mr Szabo, however, revealed the scepticism initially harboured by the majority of international tourists about their security in SL as he briefed the press on some positive moves he has made to frankly convince them about SL being a peaceful destination worth seeing and explore.

In her keynote address, The Hon. Minister of Tourism and Cultural Affairs Dr. Memunatu B. Pratt, while acknowledging VSL as one of the credible service providers in the country, commended the CEO for partnering with the Ministry to make SL a world- classed tourism destination. She maintained that this objective can only be achieved through a strong public-private partnership engagement. The Hon. Minister recalled the 1970s and 80s Paris Rally that SL ones witnessed as she described the forthcoming B-BR 2020 as a unique venture and an opportunity to offer such an interesting experience to the current generation of Sierra Leoneans.

Reminding the press about the top-ranking status of SL in the recent global International Safety Index assessment, Dr. Pratt encouraged the public to be aware of the said event, gearing up public expectation to offer the best hospitable behaviour to attract international visitors some of whom may consider the country for a permanent stay even after the said charity tour. “Sierra Leone has been removed from the list of high-risk zones due to tremendous efforts of Government supported by its citizens, which has led to some socio-economic and political stability, being a recipe for sustainable the tourism that the country needs to maintain and improve upon as a resilient nation,” she confirmed.

Meanwhile, some critical questions from journalists were satisfactorily responded to by the Ministry and partners present.

 

 

Freetown Forum – Agenda for Action on Women’s Empowerment in Tourism

We, the Ministry of Tourism and Cultural Affairs in collaboration with development partners, acknowledge the following:

  1. Tourism accounts for an estimated 10.4% of the world’s GDP, considering its direct, indirect and induced impacts (WTTC, 2019), and the tourism sector accounts directly for 3% of the GDP of the G20 economies (UNWTO, 2019);
  2. Globally, tourism represents one of the fastest-growing and resilient economic activities – forecasts indicate that tourism will experience sustained growth in the coming years, reaching 1.8 billion international tourist arrivals in 2030, up from 4 billion in 2018 (UNWTO, 2019);
  3. Tourism is one of the main sectors driving economic integration and socio-economic development, and creating jobs in many other sectors, including agriculture, construction, manufacturing, retail, handicrafts, cultural and creative industries, financial services, information and communication technologies (World Bank, 2017);
  4. Tourism accounts for a higher share of women’s employment and entrepreneurship as compared to the whole economy, and is a driving force for social inclusion including, but not limited to, women, young people, persons with disabilities, migrants, indigenous and tribal peoples, and rural populations (UNWTO, 2019);
  5. Tourism is a sector made up mostly of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs)  providing   major   opportunities  for young and female entrepreneurial talent, and for integrating SMEs and start-ups into the value chain (G20 Osaka leaders);

Taking into consideration:

  1. The 1991 Constitution of Sierra Leone, Chapter II, Section 9(1) and 9(2) (a) of provides for gender equality in education and outline directives that secure women’s rights to equitable access to and benefit from education and the 17.2 Education Act 2004;
  2. That nationally, the empowerment of women, youth and persons with disabilities is a core component of the Medium- Term National Development Plan (2019-2023) and tourism is a priority sector in the New Direction Agenda;
  3. The National Policy on Gender Mainstreaming (2000) the National Policy on Women’s Empowerment (2000), the National Action Plan on the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325, on Women, Peace, and Security, (2000), and the Local Content Policy of the National Tourism Policy and National Cultural Policy;
  4. The Chieftaincy Act No. 10 of 2009, Section 8 that makes women eligible to contest for and become Paramount Chiefs, the Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment Bill, which establishes a minimum of 30 percent representation of women in governance at all levels;
  5. The Africa Agenda 2063, Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and the G20 Osaka Tourism Ministers Declaration on Advancing Tourism’s Contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs);
  6. The seven key findings of the Global Report on Women and Tourism Second Edition, 2019 which state:
  1. Targeted interventions by public, private and civil society actors, such as promoting equal pay, tackling sexual harassment and recruiting women into high-level employment, help to promote decent work for women in tourism.
  2. Gender-sensitive legal and macroeconomic policies at the national level increase women’s economic empowerment in the tourism sector when they are implemented effectively.
  3. Investment in skills training for women, including training on soft skills and awareness-raising on available training opportunities, and gender equality training across the sector lead to greater outcomes for gender equality.
  4. Gender equality strategies for the tourism sector are vital for women’s empowerment, and must be backed by institutional and budgetary support.
  5. Women can be empowered politically and socially through tourism when links are made with the broader community and civil society organizations.
  6. When targeted gender-sensitive training is provided and women have access to appropriate technology,  the digitalization of tourism can offer exciting new opportunities for women’s innovation and empowerment.
  7. The availability of sex-disaggregated tourism data allows for better-targeted gender equality interventions in the sector and leads to greater women‘s empowerment.
 

Agree to work with policymakers, businesses, national and local government authorities, cooperatives, international organizations and NGOs towards implementation of the 2019 UNWTO Global Report on Women and Tourism Action Plan.

Action Plan

Employment

Take measures to tackle the gender pay gap in tourism.

Address social protection and unpaid work for women in tourism.

Systematically address the sexual harassment of women workers in the tourism sector, as well as issues of harassment in tourism communities against community members and travellers.

Develop and institutionalize gender equality strategies for the tourism sector.

Challenge gender-stereotypes in tourism sub-occupations.

Entrepreneurship

Work to ensure that women’s tourism businesses can become formalized, if they wish to be, and contribute to women’s financial inclusion.

Expand and diversify women’s market access and fair trade for their tourism products and services.

Support women to expand and diversify their tourism products and services.

Introduce measures to improve women’s work-life balance in tourism and encourage an equal division of unpaid care work in tourism communities.

Expand women’s access to digital technologies, including digital tourism platforms.

Leadership, policy and decision-making

Work towards gender balance in senior management of tourism companies.

Address the lack of high-level women’s leadership in decision- making spaces in the private sector, public sector tourism bodies and agencies.

Ensure International Labor Organization (ILO) policies on maternity and care responsibilities are respected.

Actively support women’s representation and leadership in trade unions.

Education and training

Develop training programs for women in tourism, including training on soft skills, networking and high-level training for career progression.

Provide targeted training for women to ensure that they can use digital technologies to innovate through digital technologies in tourism.

Provide gender equality training for tourism policy-makers, managers and employees.

Encourage the participation of female students and graduates in tourism studies and qualifications.

Community and civil society

Facilitate women’s voice in the community and household decision-making.

Ensure gender equality and human rights commitments at the national level are met and implemented effectively.

Support women’s tourism networks, NGOs and tourism cooperatives to actively work towards women’s empowerment in the sector.

Measurement for better policies

Regularly collect and report data that is disaggregated by sex on employment in the tourism sector and, where possible, formal and informal tourism employment, gender pay gaps, entrepreneurship, education and training, leadership and decision-making, time use and work-life balance.

Regularly provide data disaggregated by sex on employment in the tourism sector to UNWTO.

Conduct gender analysis, consult civil society actors, integrate a gender perspective into all phases of the tourism policy and program cycle.

 

In collaboration with

Sierra Leone’s Ministry of Tourism and Cultural Affairs has embarked on a nationwide assessment of natural, historic and cultural sites.

Ministry of Tourism and Cultural Affairs embarks on an assessment of natural, historic and cultural sites

The process which started on Friday, November 16, 2019, saw five teams comprising officials of the Ministry of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, the National Tourist Board, Monuments and Relics Commission and other stakeholders visiting various sites in the country.

 

Funded by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) the exercise was done to assess the existing status of touristic and potential touristic sites principally natural and heritage assets.

A good number of natural and heritage sites in Sierra Leone present a barrage of conservation challenges that must be arrested to save them from further deterioration and degradation.

Some of the sites visited include the slave castle, Bunce Island, Tasso, and Banana Island, River No 2 and Lakka beaches, Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary, Tiwai Island, Outamba Kilimi National Park, Old Fourah Bay College and others.

According to the Director of Tourism who doubles as the Head of this activity, Mohamed Jalloh, the exercise would aid the Ministry and her development partners take the necessary action to safeguard them from the effects of climate change, erosion, environmental impact and other conditions that were inimical to their continued existence.

Through this assessment, the Ministry would tackle management challenges while equally taking action to do a proper restoration.

Sierra Leone’s cultural and natural assets have suffered long years of neglect arising in part from the non-prioritization of the tourism industry by previous administrations.

Minister of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, Memunatu Pratt says they were doing everything humanly possible to transform the economic status of Sierra Leone through tourism.

President Julius Maada Bio also promised to diversify the country’s economy through tourism.

One way of promoting tourism, not least heritage, and cultural tourism is to assess the status of the sites and restore or conserve where necessary.

The exercise which lasted for three or four days produced a compelling outcome which if implemented, would bolster local tourism while still promoting inbound tourism.

This national exercise was coordinated by the Director of Tourism.

 

The Minister of Tourism and Cultural Affairs as a panelist in the First Regional Congress on Women’s Empowerment in the Tourism Sector in Accra, Ghana.

The Minister of Tourism and Cultural Affairs as a panelist in the First Regional Congress on Women’s Empowerment in the Tourism Sector in Accra, Ghana.

The Congress aims to discuss strategies and actions to advance gender equality and women’s empowerment in tourism.

 

 

UNWTO/WORLD BANK AND THE MINISTRY OF TOURISM AND CULTURE ON WOMEN’S ENTREPRENEURSHIP IN TOURISM-FREETOWN FORUM.

UNWTO/WORLD BANK AND THE MINISTRY OF TOURISM AND CULTURE ON WOMEN’S ENTREPRENEURSHIP IN TOURISM-FREETOWN FORUM.

“Celebrating women’s empowerment through tourism entrepreneurship”

THE OBJECTIVE OF THE WORKSHOP:

To disseminate the findings of the UNWTO Global Report on Women Enterprise Survey in Ghana and in Sierra Leon, and to discuss and identify key policy recommendations to promote women’s empowerment through tourism entrepreneurship.

Note that Women’s contribution to the economy of Sierra Leone is well below its fullest potential. In must sectors of the economy women entrepreneurs are are disadvantaged and face considerable challenges in growing their businesses.
In line with UN SDG 5:

to achieve gender equality and empower    women and girls. it is important to raise awareness of these issues and start to find sustainable solutions. Therefore, tourism is the correct and smart entry point for action.

Tourism is a priority sector for the Government of Sierra Leone. Tourism has been shown globally to provide more opportunities for women’s entrepreneurship and advancement than other sectors of the economy.

THE EXPECTED OUTCOME OF THE WORKSHOP:

1. Greater awareness and understanding of the constraints facing women’s economic empowerment and gender mainstream in the tourism sector.

2. Increase interest in women’s entrepreneurship within the tourism sector in Sierra Leone and the sub region.

3. Stakeholder commitment towards action to promote women in tourism in Sierra Leone.

 

Visa-On-Arrival to Sierra Leone

As part of government’s commitment to promote tourism and attract foreign direct investment, the Government of Sierra Leone wishes to inform the general public, airline operators, Sierra Leone Embassies and Missions overseas, International Air Transport Association (IATA), international partners and other government bodies that with effect from Thursday 5th September 2019, a new Visa on Arrival policy has been rolled-out for persons from the following countries or blocs:

  • United Kingdom Citizens
  • European Union Citizens
  • United States Citizens
  • Citizens of Commonwealth member countries
  • Citizens of Gulf Cooperation Council member countries (UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, and Oman)
  • Citizens of the BRICS Countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa)
  • Citizens of the following countries:
    • Lebanon
    • Iran
    • Cambodia
    • Vietnam
    • Singapore
    • Indonesia
    • Thailand
    • Turkey
    • Japan
    • South Korea
    • Norway
    • Israel
    • Bolivia
    • East Timor
    • Macau
    • Samoa
    • Tuvalu

Below are the visa fees for ease of reference:

  • ECOWAS nationals – Visa-free
  • Non-Ecowas AU nationals – USD 25.00
  • All other countries – USD 80.00

Citizens of ECOWAS states and all other countries with which Sierra Leone has visa-free agreements will continue to enjoy visa-free access.

Citizens of countries not listed above are required to visit the nearest Sierra Leone Embassy or Mission abroad to secure visas prior to visiting Sierra Leone. All persons coming to Sierra Leone for the purpose other than tourism, visit or business needs to apply for a visa before undertaken such travel. We wish to reassure all potential visitors of a continuing hassle-free visa processing experience.

 

Exhibiting Sierra Leone at the biggest World Travel Market in London

Sierra Leone is set to participate in one of the World’s biggest gathering of the tourism sector, the World Travel Market, London.

World Travel Market London introduces global travel buyers to countries, the biggest destinations and brands in the world. WTM London prides itself on being the hub of travel ideas.

They aim to give sector players, the global travel trade insight into how the industry will look in the next five years, share innovations, and create endless business opportunities over the course of three days.

Sierra Leone was an attractive destination for tourists from across the world but that changed following a decade of civil strife.

The Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) led Government of President Julius Maada Bio campaigned to diversify the economy through tourism by improving the policy and legal environment, developing infrastructure, rehabilitating and developing historic and cultural sites, developing skills in tourism and promoting, marketing and improving the international image of Sierra Leone.

Hence the participation in such Exhibitions.

The advantages of participating in these events are manifold.
It gives Sierra Leone an opportunity to engage and connect with her target audience face-to-face. Participating in an event where over 51,000 international travel professionals, from more than 38 sectors of the travel industry are present is no mean feat. It provides an enviable opportunity to meet, network, negotiate and conduct business with key decision-makers in the travel industry.

Sierra Leone’s Ministry of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, the National Tourist Board and Monuments and Relics Commission would use this exhibition to position the country as a must-visit destination. Her presence would ensure that it is seen by the people that matter and offer an opportunity to truly stand out as a brand in a place where the travel industry congregates.

By participating in such events, the nation grows her exposure and position her brand as a destination that worth travellers’ attention – there’s no better place than the hub of travel ideas to present that brand.

The competitive edge of showcasing the ecotourism and adventure tourism potentials of this great nation cannot be overemphasized. Our brand presence at the show is significant but we also get an insight into what other businesses and countries are doing.

With the newly launched Visa-on-Arrival facility, the country needs to launch that new product to Tour Operators. WTM London gives the perfect platform to launch any new products people may have in front of a large engaged audience. Create your hype.

The event which runs from the 4th-6th November 2019 takes place at ExCel Exhibition Centre in London. Around 300,000 new business connections are made each year at these events where over 3,000 journalists from around the world are present.

International French Tourism Market (IFTM) Top Resa 2019 – Marketing Sierra Leone at the French Tourism Market

As first day of Tourism Trade Show ends, greater prospects await Sierra Leone’s tourism Sector.

Reversing the seemingly unending negative image of Sierra Leone is perhaps the most difficult task that the country’s Ministry of Tourism and Cultural Affairs is faced with.

It follows a decade long Civil War, an Ebola Epidemic and a natural disaster Mudslide.

Tourism Minister, Memunatu Pratt was appointed a year and half ago, she has been making strides aimed at re-branding the country.

At the International French Tourism Market (IFTM) Top Resa 2019 she affirmed the need to intensify the marketing of Sierra Leone as an enviable tourist destination.

She, together with her delegation visited various Stands, held meetings with Tour Operators and Travel Agents, other tourism professionals.

Every year, thousands of Exhibitors converge at Porte de Versailles, Paris, France to showcase their tourism potentials.

“Reconnecting with the French Market could be one of the greatest achievements of the Sierra Leone Tourism Sector.” remarked the General Manager of the National Tourist Board, Fatmata Abe-Osagie.

Such is the importance that the Diplomatic Community attaches to the event that Sierra Leone’ s Ambassador to Belgium, Samuel Tamba Musa remarked that they would do everything humanly possible to market the nation. He displayed messages inviting the world to invest in the country.

The Parliamentary Chairman of the Tourism Committee, Hon Mohamed Sheriff Rahman Coker says Sierra Leone can only continue to attract more tourists when “we create the enabling environment and legislate appropriate laws.

Tourism is Life and Golden Tulip are the only private sector representatives from Sierra Leone, they were confident that tourism will gradually take centre-stage in the country’s development agenda.

The event continues on Wednesday and ends on Friday 4th October, 2019.

Ministry of Tourism and Cultural Affairs
National Tourist Board
Monuments and Relics Commission
Media and Communication
+232 76387711