Category: Uncategorized

TOURISM IS THE IGNITION SWITCH TO START THE ENGINE OF SIERRA LEONE TRANSFORMATION DRIVE TO A MIDDLE INCOME COUNTRY BY 2035

Posted By : National Tourist Board/ 105 0

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.

MTCA, NTB AND WORLD BANK VISITS TACUGAMA CHIMPANZEE SANTUARY AND OTHER TOURISTIC SITES

Posted By : National Tourist Board/ 77 0

On Sunday, 10th September 2017, the Ministry of Tourism and Cultural Affairs ( MTCA ), the National Tourist Board of Sierra Leone ( NTB) and the World Bank visited different breathtaking Touristic and Historical sites including *Tacugama Chimpanzee Santuary, Bureh Beach, Kent Beach and York Village*

At Tacugama Chimpanzee Santuary, the Marketing, Operations and Proposals Manager of the Santuary, Mr. Aram Kazandjian, led the visiting delegation in a comprehensive conducted tour to all the plethora of facilities that encompasses the Santuary including the living and dwelling enclosure of the primates. Mr. Kazandjian explained to the guest contemporary happenings in his entity, plan proposals as well as lamented on challenges, “We have a water fall, we have lots of flora and fauna and different species of rare butterflies, we have a cave, this place has so many other possibilities, we are also planning to launch the Tacugama Yoga Club” the Manager explained.

Speaking on behalfof the Ministry of Tourism and Cultural Affairs ( MTCA ), the Director of Tourism, Mr. Mohamed Jalloh noted that, the visit was geared towards mapping out possible ways and means on how to augment more value on the Santuary as it is one of the Eco-tourism sites in the Country which has the potential to bring more tourists in the Country who will also yearn to visit other touristic sites in the Country.

Madam Fatmata Abe-Osagie is the Deputy General Manager of the National Tourist Board of Sierra Leone ( NTB), who pointed out that, MTCA and NTB are committed to the development of Tourism in the Country and that is more so, they have approached various implementing partners in order to source funding so as to develop the enormous products and sites this country has.

At Bureh Beach, Michael Turay, headman of the Bureh town took the guests round the Beach and explained current happenings in his locality. The delegation recorded all the challenges put forward my the headman and also figured out the proper projects needed to be implemented in Bureh Beach and Environs. The same exercise was replicated for Kent beach.

Finally, at York Village, Mr. Kofi P. Sakpo, headman of the village took the delegation round the village to different historic artifacts, monuments and relics. The three historic churches of the village, the York stone, flory water cave and so much other historic sites were visited.

However, Mr. Umaru Woody, Planning and Product Development Manager of the NTB, was also part of the delegation who made important contributions during the various deliberations.

WORLD BANK COMMENCES PROCESS FOR THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE 10 MILLION DOLLARS PROJECT FOR SIERRA LEONE TOURISM INDUSTRY

Posted By : National Tourist Board/ 83 0

The World Bank has commenced the rigorous procedures involved to kick start the implementation of the Ten Milliocn United States Dollars ($10M) project meant for the entire Tourism Industry in the Country (both public and private sectors ). The program is geared towards the Sustainability of the Tourism Industry in Sierra Leone.

On Wednesday 6th September, this year, the World Bank, at it’s new office situated at Spur road, Wilberforce, played host to a contingent of senior stakeholders in Sierra Leone ‘s Tourism Industry drawn from all Ministries, Departments and Agencies ( MDAs ) including private entities that are enmeshed and ingrained in the Tourism Industry of the Country.

A PowerPoint presentation was made by the World Bank Team illustrating all the rigorous procedures, terms and conditions involved in implementing this novelty project.

Speaking on behalf of the Minister of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, Honorable Sidi Yayah Tunis and the Ministry, the Director of Tourism, Mr. Mohamed Jalloh intimated that, the project is meant to strengthen the Tourism Industry and that, the money will be Prudently spent on any facility or sector within the Tourism Industry that is deemed fit to be in need of such expenditure which can as well bring good returns, noting that “both the public and private sectors within the Tourism Industry are entitled to the money, we shall invest the money on any facility or project that deserves such expenditure” he noted.

“All institutions in the Tourism Industry will benefit from this money, the money will be used wisely to enhance the development of tourism and the economy of the Country. It’s all about collaboration, working together for the betterment of the Tourism Industry and that of the Country” disclosed Madam Fatmata Abe-Osagie, Deputy General Manager of the National Tourist Board of Sierra Leone ( NTB) while speaking on behalf of the General Manager, Mr. Yassin Kolleh Kargbo, and the NTB at the World Bank Head Office, Sierra Leone.

PASSIONATE APPEAL TO PURCHASE A SEAWEED BARBER

Posted By : National Tourist Board/ 93 0

The Deputy General Manager(DGM) of the National Tourist Board of Sierra Leone (NTB), Madam Fatmata Abe-Osagie, on behalf of the NTB and its line Ministry, the Ministry of Tourism and Cultural Affairs (MTCA) has called on the Government of Sierra Leone, Implementing Partners and citizens alike to capacitate the NTB financially in order for the institution to be properly equipped with all the requite materials and wherewithal in fighting this National Menace called Sargassum or Sea Algae better known as Seaweed which has abruptly rendered our beautiful and pristine Beaches in a state of insanity and abhorrence. She curled that, there is a sophisticated, scientific and modern machine called the “Seaweed Barber” which has the potential to clean up thousands of tons of Seaweed within a short period of time. She pleaded to the Government and Implementing Partners to help purchase the Seaweed Barber and finally bring the issue of Seaweed to rest.

The DGM made this passionate appeal on Wednesday, 6th September 2017 at the National Television Broadcaster, the Sierra Leone Broadcasting Cooperation (SLBC) on a popular viewed program called the MPPA hour hosted by the Ministry of Political and Public Affairs. The program was titled “Seaweed as a national concern and it was moderated by Mr. Muctarr Tejan Cole(T.J Cole), Communications Officer of MPPA.

Madam Fatmata Abe-Osagie, pointed out that, albeit the NTB is short of finance, but the institution is doing everything possible in order to ensure that the seaweed is cleaned off our beaches, more especially the Aberdeen-Lumley Beaches which happens to be the hub of Tourism in the country. ” to clean a 3.2km long beach is not an easy task, we are short of funds, but we cannot afford to allow the seaweed take over the barometer of Tourism in the country (Aberdeen-Lumley Beaches), that is why both wings of the Beach Marshall (Security and Sanitation wings) including staff of the NTB are doing frantic efforts in cleaning the seaweed and return our beaches to their beautiful and pristine statuses” she noted.

She reiterated that, Staff of NTB including the Beach Marshalls are working relentlessly and tirelessly 24/7 in the cleaning of the Beaches so that Tourists as well as Citizens could visit the Beaches and have the expected blissfulness and merriment they are expecting from the Beaches.

She disclosed that, Seaweed is a Universal issue and that, many countries the world over are experiencing this quagmire, especially countries within the coastal areas, adding that, “we want the general public to know that, Sierra Leone is not the only country experiencing Seaweed, also the Seaweed has no harmful effect on the environment and human body. It has no negative implications on human health” she reaffirmed.

She concluded by calling on the Government, and all implementing partners to give a helping hand to the NTB in fighting the Seaweed but more so to help *purchase the Seaweed Barber which she termed as the “Panacea” to the Seaweed menace.* She also called on all Patriotic and Peace loving Citizens to manifest sign of patriotism by help to clean the beaches as the NTB is preparing to organize a seaweed general cleaning day.

Also present at the televised program was Mr. Paul Lamin, Assistant Deputy Director General of the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) who also hammered home very important points pertaining the causes, effects and cleaning of the Seaweed.

SIERRA LEONE HAS THE FACILITIES TO HOST INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCES-says Hon. Sidi Yayah Tunis-Minister of Tourism and Cultural Affairs

Posted By : National Tourist Board/ 76 0

The Minister of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, Honorable Sidi Yayah Tunis has intimated that, Sierra Leone now has the plethora of Facilities to host International Conferences just like any other Country in Africa or the World over.

Speaking to this writer in his office at the Ministry of Tourism and Cultural Affairs (MTCA) on Monday 4th September this year, the young minister reiterated that, taking into account the sprawling infrastructural development in the country recently coupled with the over 3,000 bedrooms capacity nation wide, Sierra Leone can host any international conference with outstanding performance. “We can boast of having good roads network, 24 hours uninterrupted electricity and pipe borne water supply, and a host of other facilities back by our hotels operating in accordance with international best practice, I can emphatically proclaim that, Sierra Leone has the full potential to host international conferences of any nature” the Minister proclaimed.

Honorable Tunis was speaking in connection with the just concluded “41st World Tourism Conference” held in Kigali, capital city of Rwanda where the Minister was the head of delegation for the three(3)man delegation that represented Sierra Leone in that momentous occasion.

The three(3) man delegation were, the Minister himself, Honorable Sidi Yayah Tunis, Director of Tourism, Mr. Mohamed Jalloh, General Manager of National Tourist Board of Sierra Leone, Mr. Yassin Kolleh Kargbo. The conference was organized by Africa Travel Association (ATA) and Cooperate Council on Africa (CCA) in collaboration with the Rwanda Development Board(RDB). The conference is held annually, last year it was held in New York, United States of America (USA). The conference brings together tour operators, corperate international and travel agencies from across the world together with policy and expertise in Tourism in Africa. This year’s conference was officially opened by the President of Rwanda, Paul Kagami.

The Minister said that, this is the second time he has attended the conference, last year in New York which coincided with the United Nations General Assembly Conference and this year in Kigali, “with the vast knowledge I have acquired from these two conferences, I will apply these ideas in my country so as to bolster the Tourism Sector and the Economy, that is more so I have always emphasized on standards and quality service delivery because Tourism is a competitive market, the more the hoteliers train their staff on how to properly take care of a guest leaving that guest with a sweet memory triggering him/her for a second or more visits, the better for the Tourism industry and the country as a whole” he noted.

The Minister furthered that, this year’s conference lasted for four(4) days and that, apart from the general conference there were several other meetings and plenary sessions of which he took part in three, namely:
*1. Tourism and Conservation and contribution of young people and technology in the development of tourism in Africa*

*2 Importance of safety and security for tourism development* and

*3 Unlocking the potential of tourism in Africa (the challenges and opportunities in African Continent)*

The Minister was also invited by the Rwandan National Television to expound on contemporary tourism happenings in Sierra Leone and also discuss the investment and tourism potential of the country.

Apparently, the Minister however maintained that, his Ministry, the Ministry of Tourism and Cultural Affairs (MTCA) and the National Tourist Board of Sierra Leone (NTB) are in sober discussions and collaboration with various Ministries, Departments and Agencies(MDAs) such as the Ministry of Transport and Aviation, Civil Aviation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation etc, to settle some burning issues that revolves around *landing fees, access to visa, direct flights, visa on arrival and visa exemption for certain countries*

He disclosed that, he will also engage the National Social Security and Insurance Trust(NaSSIT) on how to aggressively market the Bintumani International Conference Hall because the facility is of international standards, hence fit to host any international conference.

The Minister pointed out that, MTCA and NTB are in preparedness for the high season which will see an influx of Tourists visiting the Country, a period associated with booming profit for the hospitality sector of the Tourism Industry, the country’s economy as well as massive jobs opportunity for the youths.

The Minister concluded that, he has engaged the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development(MoFED) to fund the rehabilitation of the road leading to the Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary.

Historically, It could be recalled that, Rwanda a small landlock country, in April 7th 1994 to July 1994 suffered a genocide which claimed the lives of 500,000 to 1,000,000 Rwandans. The tiny nation has resurgence from it’s past woe and presently doing exceptionally well in all facets, within three(3) years the country shifted from 3,000 bedrooms to 9,000 bedrooms capacity. The country has massively embarked on Conference Tourism hence generating staggering amounts of foreign currencies. Ethiopia is also another Country that have emulated Rwanda in terms of Conference Tourism. Sierra Leone shares similar history with Rwanda, Sierra Leone was battered by the eleven years civil war which started in 1991 and ended in 2002, in 2014, the country was invaded by the Ebola scourge and just weeks ago, Landslide and Flooding ravaged and wreaked several parts of the Country. All these calamities and catastrophes, when the dead toll put together will exceed a million.

However, Sierra Leone is using the Rwanda Success approach in enhancing the development of Tourism and the Economy of the country.

© *Mohamed Alieu Bah*
*Communications Assistant Officer*
*National Tourist Board of Sierra Leone*
+23279367667/+23230073617.
malieubah2016@gmail.com